The aim of the Access to Medicine Index is to stimulate positive change by publicly encouraging pharmaceutical companies to step up their efforts to improve access to medicine worldwide.
The access to medicine problem is complex, and responsibility for tackling it lies with many different actors - governments, NGOs, academia, pharmaceutical companies, finance institutions and multilateral organisations, such as the WHO. Nevertheless, as manufacturers and developers of life-saving products, pharmaceutical companies clearly have a crucial role to play.
The first Access to Medicine Index was published in 2008 on the initiative of Dutch entrepreneur Wim Leereveld. His experience when working with the pharmaceutical industry had taught him that simply ‘naming and shaming’ the industry did not encourage big pharma to play their part. Instead, he decided, it was time to recognise good practice within the pharmaceutical industry by developing a ratings system to show which companies do the most to improve access to medicine and how.
To provide a balanced picture of pharma companies' access to medicine activities, the Index measures 7 technical aspects such as R&D activities, pricing schemes, and patents & licencing policies. More on how and what the Index measures, can be found in the 2012 methodology. Every two years, representatives from all stakeholder groups refine this methodology to ensure the Index remains up to date with respect to global health priorities. A key role is played by the Expert Review Committee (ERC), a diverse team of independent experts in global health, investment and the pharmaceutical industry. The ERC provides strategic guidance and ensures that the methodology is well-balanced, transparent and effective.
The Index requires an extensive preparation process of collecting, analysing and reporting data. The fieldwork and initial analyses, including scoring and ranking the companies, are carried out by MSCI ESG Research.
Today, the Index has developed into a robust measuring tool. The Access to Medicine Foundation receives financial support from donors including the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and the UK and Dutch governments. This structural support ensures that the Index will be able to continue to meet the highest standards and that its biennial publication will be safeguarded into the future.