In the 2016 Access to Medicine Index (AtMI), AstraZeneca jumped into the top 10 ranked companies and are now ranked seventh overall with a total score of 2.53.
AtMI ranks the top 20 pharmaceutical companies based on their access-to-medicine performance for high-burden diseases in low- and middle-income countries.
In 2014, we were ranked fifteenth with a total score of 1.9. Changes noted since then include the launch of Healthy Heart Africa (HHA), the increase in products with equitable pricing strategies, increased disclosure of information and public commitments, and capacity-building in key markets.
AtMI recognised that access to healthcare is one of the five pillars of our sustainability framework, which is integrated into our corporate strategy.
“This leap in our ranking on the 2016 Access to Medicine Index is testament to our increased focus on improving and sustaining access to medicine in developing countries, “ said Katarina Ageborg, Chief Compliance Officer.
“We believe that we can make the greatest contribution when our approach is commercially sustainable and in the last two years, we have implemented a number of innovative approaches identified by the Index as industry best practices.
We demonstrated improvement in multiple areas including capacity building (up four places to 4th), general access to medicine management (up nine places to 5th), patents & licensing (up 10 places to 6th), and pricing, manufacturing & distribution (up 11 places to 8th), where AstraZeneca was the highest riser, according to AtMI “mainly due to its innovative approach to equitable pricing and the implementation of this approach to products and countries in the scope of the Index”.
In particular, we were commended for the launch of HHA (Healthy Heart Africa), our leading access to medicine programme that aspires to reach 10 million hypertensive patients across Sub-Saharan Africa by 2025.
Since the launch of HHA in Kenya in 2014, we have conducted 2 million hypertension screenings in the community and in health facilities, trained over 3,000 healthcare workers, and activated 403 health facilities to provide hypertension services. In September, we also announced a landmark agreement with the world's largest HIV/AIDS donor - PEPFAR - which will expand access to hypertension and HIV/AIDS services.
AtMI also highlighted the fact that our pricing policy was “shaped by an in-depth analysis of the abilities of different population segments in a sub-set of countries to pay for its products.”
Mark Mallon, Executive Vice-President, International, comments:” At AstraZeneca we want to make our medicines affordable to more people on a commercially and socially responsible basis. The cost of treating chronic conditions such as respiratory and cardiovascular disease is an increasing burden on emerging markets, where there is significant unmet patient need, while at the same time patients are paying for their medicines out of their own pockets. We believe that our ‘ability to pay’ approach to pricing is sustainable and fair and should significantly increase access and improve patient outcomes in emerging markets.”
Another Best Practice was our approach to improving manufacturing standards in China, since we identified widespread issues in pharmaceutical manufacturing, particularly with meeting safety standards, in 2006. AtMI highlighted our collaboration with Tianjin University in northern China, an established industry partner, to resolve these manufacturing issues by addressing identified skills and knowledge gaps, and training students and staff.
Finally, our transparent approach to IP management, disclosing how and where we will enforce patents or issue licences, and disclosing patent statuses, was also recognised as an industry Best Practice.
The full AtMI scores, individual company scorecards and commentary is available here.