GSK reign supreme in developing countries’ access to drugs

GlaxoSmithKline has topped the league table of pharma companies that contribute most to improving access to drugs in developing countries.

The Access to Medicine Index 2014 has placed GSK in first place for a fourth consecutive year, pipping Novo Nordisk to the post in second place.

Put together by Access to Medicine Foundation, the approach has been developed with input from academics, NGOs, investors and governments, and pharma companies that this year have been more open in providing data and information regarding perennial challenges.

The research is separated into seven different areas with GSK leading the overall table and Gilead Sciences taking the top spot for implementing equitable pricing strategies targeted towards poorer communities.

The report cites public policy and market influence as an area for improvement, stating: “There is a clear gap between companies’ stated commitments to ethical behaviour and what actually happens in practice.”

It also revealed that every company on the list had been involved in settlements or decisions regarding corruption, with the exception of Gilead and AbbVie.

GSK and Johnson & Johnson are reported to have thrived in R&D.

Access to Medicine Foundation founder and chief executive Wim Leereveld said: “These developments show us how much we need the entrepreneurial power of pharmaceutical companies to address access to medicine.

“But while it is clear that companies have a role to play, there is still no sustainable model for ensuring the poorest patients have access to the medicine they need.”

GSK chief executive Sir Andrew Witty said: “People rightly expect us to do all we can to discover, develop and price our medicines and vaccines so they are accessible to those who need them, wherever they are in the world.

“It challenges us to think harder about how we drive innovation and enable access to our products.”

GSK have worked alongside the United States National Institutes of Health to develop a vaccine for the Zaire strain of Ebola and have formed an agreement with Save the Children to develop child-friendly treatments.