Starting with access to medicine — it is a big problem not just in the U.S. And managing it often ends up with a number of groups — governments, NGOs, academia, pharmaceutical companies, finance institutions and multilateral organizations (e.g., WHO). It’s not easy. But let’s take a look at pharma because there is a report — the Access to Medicines Index — which reviews the 20 largest research-based pharmaceutical companies on how they make medicines, vaccines and diagnostics more accessible in low- and middle-income countries. Here’s the overall listing for 2016, but before interpreting, it’s important to know what it means. Originally created by a Dutch national to provide transparency and to recognize the programs pharmaceutical companies do, the Index was launched in 2008. So here is what the Index measures via a weighted analytical framework. Here’s the key point — there is a lot to providing access beyond “giving it away”.
Okay — what do all these things mean?
Research & Development (R&D). The top 20 pharmaceutical companies are developing 420 products for the 51 most burdensome diseases and conditions in low- and middle-income countries. Think about that — 420 products for 51 disease and conditions.