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[e-drug] Release of Methodology for 2014 Access to Medicine Index

E-DRUG: Release of Methodology for 2014 Access to Medicine Index

*Access to Medicine Index places more emphasis on how well pharmaceutical
companies respond to patient needs*

*Refined methodology to measure Big Pharma's initiatives in more countries
for more diseases*

Press release: 12 NOVEMBER 2013 Haarlem, the Netherlands:  *The world’s leading
pharmaceutical companies have an important role to play in improving access
to life-saving drugs, vaccines, diagnostic tests and other health
technologies in developing countries. The Access to Medicine Index, an
independent initiative that ranks companies every two years according to
their efforts, today published the methodology for the 2014 Index,
outlining refinements designed to reflect evolving access to medicine
priorities and hone what’s measured.

While key aspects of the Index methodology have remained the same to enable
comparability over time, some strategic changes have been made to what will
be measured in the 2014 Index, to be published late next year.

“The Index methodology has undergone a rigorous review, with the help of
extensive consultations with experts and stakeholders this year. The need
for company initiatives to be responsive to local realities and priorities
emerged as a major theme,” said Wim Leereveld, founder and CEO of the
Access to Medicine Index. “Company efforts in this regard can be seen in
the extent to which they monitor and evaluate their access to medicine
programmes, engage with local stakeholders and adapt their initiatives as
necessary to better address patient needs. We therefore will be measuring
company performance in appropriately tailoring their activities to local
needs, conditions and expectations.”

In order to capture efforts to meet patient needs, the 2014 Index will
place greater emphasis on how companies assess and target local public
health needs as part of their overall access strategy, R&D strategy,
pricing strategies, capability advancement initiatives, product donations
and philanthropic activities.

More meaningful measurements of affordability will also be applied in the
2014 Index, which will now capture all forms of equitable pricing
strategies where companies include socio-economic needs and affordability
in determining commercial pricing for relevant diseases and countries.

“Evaluating the affordability of pharmaceutical products is a challenge. A
true measure of affordability of each medicine is only possible with a
universally accepted reference price for each product. First there is a
lack of consensus and availability of reference prices for all products.
Secondly, companies are diverse in their products and diseases they target.
Thirdly, variations in country demographics illustrate the need for
customized measures of affordability. These three reasons make it
impossible to use this measure to compare companies at the moment,” said
Jayasree Iyer, Head of Research for the Access to Medicine Index. “However,
volume of product sales to segments of populations can be a useful measure
of affordability, as it can help to capture the extent to which a product
is available to the poorest population segments and highlight what
companies can do to improve access. We have therefore shifted the focus of
our analysis on pricing and included the disclosure of this affordability
measurement in the 2014 Index.”

Another refinement is the addition of a third criterion for determining
which countries are included in the Index, so that higher-income countries
that have a large number of people living in poverty will now be covered.
This adjustment resulted in the addition of four Latin American countries –
Brazil, Colombia, Ecuador and Venezuela– and reflects the reality that
widespread inequality of human development within higher- or middle-income 
often inhibits access to medicine for the poorest population segments. The
Index will measure activity in 106 countries.

The Index measures company activities that address diseases that have the
greatest global burden and the greatest need in terms of access to
medicine. For the 2014 Index, the disease scope has expanded from 33 to 47
conditions, largely to remain up-to-date with important epidemiological
trends. Mental health conditions such as schizophrenia and bipolar
affective disorder have been added, reflecting the increasing mental health
burden in low- and middle-income countries. Three-quarters of the people
affected by mental health issues worldwide live in developing countries.

The indicators used to score companies have undergone only minor
refinement. In order to increase robustness, reduce redundancies and take
into account relevant new developments in the access to medicine field, 12
indicators have been removed and 6 added, leading to 95 indicators for
2014. Certain of them have been earmarked as relevant for trend analysis.
The framework for analysis, which is constructed along seven Technical
Areas and across four Strategic Pillars, remains the same, enabling
assessment of progress over time.

“The role of pharmaceutical companies in advancing access to medicine is
changing; the global health community and society as a whole have increased
expectations of the private sector and are looking for more conscious
capitalism,” said Wim Leereveld. “The leading companies clearly understand
this and since we began tracking their efforts in 2008 the Index has shown
that they are moving forward, but the Index’s role is to provide the
insight into industry-leading practices and a basis for comparison between
peers so that the industry can push itself further. We review and refine
the Index methodology every two years to ensure that what we measure
remains relevant, robust and within the industry’s reach.”

The Methodology Report 2013 can be found at:

The Access to Medicine Index is published by the Access to Medicine
Foundation, a non-profit organisation based in the Netherlands that aims to
advance access to medicine in developing countries by encouraging the
pharmaceutical industry to accept a greater role in improving access to
medicine in less developed countries. The Index methodology was developed,
and is continually refined, in consultation with multiple expert
stakeholders including the World Health Organization, NGOs, governments and
universities, as well as institutional investors. The Index is funded by
the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs
and the UK Department for International Development.

For more information, contact:
Jayasree K Iyer (Mrs), PhD
Head of Research
Access to Medicine Index
Address: Scheepmakersdijk 5A,  2011 AS Haarlem, The Netherlands
Office: +31 (0) 23 533 91 87
Mobile: +31 (0)646 811 414
Jay Iyer <jiyer@atmindex.org>

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