Product Donations

How the companies perform

The scores are spread widely, with three groups: seven leaders, followed by a middle group of seven and then six laggards. Companies on higher rankings tend to engage in more structured donation programmes, of a broader scale and scope. They take on a greater level of responsibility with regard to the monitoring and auditing of donation programmes.

Overall, there have been only minor shifts in industry activity in product donations since 2014. Companies continue to donate medicines for Neglected Tropical Diseases (NTDs), with NTD programmes being expanded and extended. Programmes for communicable diseases are focusing more on specific target groups and on adapting to a single country context. The Index now includes philanthropic activities (the provision of financial assistance to local organisations) under Capacity Building.

Leaders commit to tackling NTDs

GSK, Merck & Co., Inc. and Johnson & Johnson take the top three ranks. GSK’s lymphatic filariasis donation programme has the largest scope and scale, although Merck & Co., Inc. reaches a comparatively high number of beneficiaries and countries through the Mectizan® donation programme for onchocerciasis. Merck & Co., Inc.’s commitment to eliminating NTDs extends beyond the diseases listed in the London Declaration: it has a structured donation programme that works toward the global eradication of rabies. Johnson & Johnson runs the largest number of donation programmes: it has six programmes covering three disease areas. Two were launched during the period of analysis.

These three companies, together with Eisai, Novartis, Pfizer and Merck KGaA, comprise the leading group. All seven donate medicines both ad hoc for emergency relief and through structured donation programmes. Importantly, all seven work with international organisations in their donation programmes, tracking the reception of donated products and requiring regular reports from partners on results and outcomes of the programmes.

Eisai and Pfizer are two of the biggest risers in this Technical Area. Eisai has expanded its lymphatic filariasis (LF) programme, which also has a rigorous monitoring and auditing system. Pfizer has increased the scale and scope of its structured donation programmes, and has put standardised procedures in place for engaging with international organisations and NGOs.

Middle group lacks stringent monitoring and auditing requirements

There are seven companies in the middle pack: Sanofi, Bayer, AbbVie, Novo Nordisk, Eli Lilly, Gilead and Roche. All seven, like the leaders, commit to ensuring donation activities meet international guidelines for medicine donations, such as those set out by WHO and PQMD. However, when it comes to ensuring these quality standards are met, these six companies generally do not require donation partners to report regularly on outcomes and impact, and do not systematically audit their partners.

Among these companies, Sanofi, Novo Nordisk, and Roche are involved in one structured donation programme, while the other four engage in several. AbbVie remains the only company to engage in donations for maternal and neonatal health, and has expanded the scope of this activity during the period of analysis. Three of these companies have long-term donation programmes targeting NTDs with a comparatively wide geographic scope: Bayer, Sanofi and Gilead.

Gilead has initiated an innovative programme in collaboration with the government of Georgia and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to develop a national hepatitis C action plan. The company is donating recently launched, patented medicines: sofosbuvir (Sovaldi®) and sofosbuvir/ledipasvir (Harvoni®).

Nine of the companies in the top ten in this area of the Index, plus Gilead, have signed the 2012 London Declaration on Neglected Tropical Diseases: Bayer, Eisai, GSK, Johnson & Johnson, Merck KGaA, Merck & Co., Inc., Novartis, Pfizer and Sanofi. Collectively, they target all nine NTDs listed in the London declaration for which a therapeutic intervention is available.

Laggards not involved in structured donation programmes

The six lowest-ranked companies are not involved in structured donation programmes: Bristol-Myers Squibb, Astra Zeneca, Boehringer-Ingelheim, Takeda, Daiichi Sankyo and Astellas. Four of them, however, are active in ad hoc donations for emergency relief: Bristol-Myers Squibb, AstraZeneca, Boehringer Ingelheim and Takeda. The spread in scores in this group is the result of their different monitoring and auditing requirements, and the transparency of the type, volume and destinations of their ad hoc donations.

Bristol-Myers Squibb is the only company in this group that commits to engaging in long-term structured donation programmes. It is currently developing an innovative programme aimed at curing hepatitis C in patients co-infected with the hepatitis C virus and HIV, donating its recently launched and patented product daclatasvir (Daklinza®). The programme will run in cooperation with AmeriCares, the Clinton Health Access Initiative (CHAI) and Duke University.

Daiichi Sankyo and Astellas received the lowest scores. Daiichi Sankyo was engaged in only one ad hoc donation, to Palestine, and Astellas did not provide evidence of any structured or ad hoc donations during the period of analysis.

Sign up to receive updates about our work.