The Access to Medicine Index is based on the idea that problems can be successfully solved by bringing people together to create effective, lasting and transparent solutions. By integrating input from stakeholders from all sectors—public, private, non-profit, and government—we are able to create a robust, balanced Access to Medicine Index with the collective aim of improving access to medicine for people in need. The Expert Review Committee (ERC) is a key component in this stakeholder engagement process.
The global health community and access
The global health community is a diverse group working towards the common goal of achieving better access to quality health care for those in developing or less developed countries through research and intervention. Global health projects tend to involve specialists with a wide range of professional and academic backgrounds and can be collaborative efforts of multilateral, non-governmental, academic, healthcare and/or government bodies. Global health work is often intertwined with other development issues, such as political and economic stability, food security, climate change, technology and urbanisation.
The global health community and the Index
Members of the global health community can provide valuable input about the ‘big picture’ of global health developments, as well as small-scale local issues and trends that others may overlook. The Access to Medicine Index team therefore values the involvement of this stakeholder group throughout the stakeholder consultation, analysis and editing phases.
In turn, the Access to Medicine Index seeks to provide the global health community with a balanced analysis of pharmaceutical companies’ efforts to improve access to medicine. This information can be used by the organisations and individuals involved in this community to measure progress, set goals and develop strategies for their own endeavours. Additionally, the Index can create a forum through which members of the global health community can connect with other stakeholders, which could stimulate new and innovative access to medicine ventures or partnerships.
Pharmaceutical companies and access
As greater emphasis is placed on accessing new markets as a source for future industry growth, pharmaceutical companies are brought into ever closer contact with access to medicine issues in developing countries and emerging markets and are actively looking for ways to manage this shift.
The industry and the Index
The objective of the Access to Medicine Index is to recognise and stimulate the pharmaceutical industry’s good practices with regard to access to medicine. Engaging the pharmaceutical industry is therefore an essential part of the process leading to the publication of each Index. Input from the industry allows the Access to Medicine Index team to properly take into account the needs and capabilities of pharmaceutical companies and industry organisations such as the International Federation of Pharmaceutical Manufacturers and Associations (IFPMA).
In return, the Access to Medicine Index provides a means for pharmaceutical companies to gauge their own strengths and weaknesses against the dynamic access to medicine landscape, as reflected by the Index. The Index can be a useful tool for companies to examine their access to medicine strategies, in order to mitigate business risks by balancing commercial viability with public health needs.
Governments and access
Many governments are actively seeking to strengthen their national health systems in an effort to improve access to medicine for their populations. With equitable health system financing and management, governments can provide their citizens with the care and medicine they need, when they need it. This means ensuring the availability of high quality health services and also investing in the infrastructure and workforce to support the consistent delivery of such services, including facilities, logistics and trained healthcare professionals. To achieve this, a government will need to rely on actors such as pharmaceutical companies and other healthcare product providers. Thus, successful strengthening and management of health systems often requires governments to commit to sharing responsibilities with other actors in order to reach and maintain a satisfactory national level of access to medicine.
Governments and the Index
Governments can play a significant role in determining a population’s level of access to medicine, and as such government representatives are crucial to the Access to Medicine Index stakeholder consultations. Because governments differ in their resource allocation and management approaches for national health systems, it is a priority of the Access to Medicine Index team to incorporate the viewpoints of government representatives from countries with different political, cultural and economic backgrounds.
The Access to Medicine Index can, in turn, provide government stakeholders with the means of understanding the changing role of the pharmaceutical industry vis-à-vis progress made in the area of access to medicine. This information can help governments to better evaluate their existing health systems and to explore opportunities for adapting to the changing landscape. In addition, the Index aims to provide a forum in which government representatives can compare experiences, share best practices and develop innovative solutions for improving access to medicine with other government and non-government stakeholders.
Investors and access
The goal of investors is to create long-term shareholder value in the companies in which they invest. This potential is maximised by investing in well managed, high quality companies, where the management team have considered fully the range of business risks and opportunities facing their companies, and taken appropriate action to manage these. Alongside assessment of traditional financial risks and opportunities, there is growing recognition among the investment community of environmental, social and governance (ESG) factors which could have an impact on the financial performance of companies.
It is in this context that investors welcome the development of analytical tools such as the Access to Medicine Index, which are used by investors to assess companies’ management of risks and opportunities surrounding access to medicine issues. As of today, 71 investors have pledged their support for more transparency by signing our Investor Statement. Together, these institutional investors manage assets in excess of USD 9.4 trillion.
Investors and the Index
Given the influence of institutional investors in the global pharmaceutical market, it is paramount that these investors see value in ranking pharmaceutical companies’ efforts to improve global access to medicine. These investors are therefore an integral part of the stakeholder consultation process leading up to the publication of each Access to Medicine Index.
Multilateral organisations and the Index
A number of multilateral organisations are involved in understanding and addressing access to medicine issues worldwide. With their global reach and resources, these organisations play a substantial role in the work of the Access to Medicine Foundation. Representatives of multilateral organisations provide input on the methodology of the Access to Medicine Index during the stakeholder consultation phase, and may also act as advisors during the Index preparation phase. Additionally, demographic data and global health trend reports that such organisations regularly publish provide the Access to Medicine Index team with useful sources of information to help shape Index scopes and analyses.
As a product of multilateral co-operation, the Access to Medicine Index’s objectives are similar to those of multilateral organisations: to bring stakeholders together in order to collectively address the challenges of access to medicine. The Index can be used by multilateral organisations as an analytical tool, both for comparing to relevant internal research projects and for assessing organisational strategy with regard to access to medicine.
Relevant multilateral organisations include the World Health Organization (WHO), World Trade Organization (WTO), United Nations (UN), World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO), European Commission, and European Parliament Directorate-General for External Policies.
NGOs/civil society and access
Many non-governmental organisations (NGOs) and civil society movements focus on improving access to medicine for people in need. These groups represent the needs and goals of different populations with regard to access to medicine and, as such, form an important stakeholder group for the Access to Medicine Index. By engaging with non-governmental and civil society groups working in local, national and international contexts, the Index team gains access to the voices of public opinion as well as important information about needs and developments on the ground.
NGOs/civil society and the Index
While these NGOs and civil society movements often share the same broad goals when it comes to improving access to medicine, they vary in size, resources, mandate, methodology and work scope. By outlining the global pharmaceutical industry’s progress in access to medicine, the Access to Medicine Index provides cohesive information that can help to shape each group’s strategies and priorities in this area. Furthermore, with its stakeholder-inclusive approach, the Access to Medicine Index aims to make available to the public a balanced, robust analysis of what the pharmaceutical industry has done for access to medicine so far and where there is still room for improvement. Such an approach creates potential for NGOs and civil society groups to have their say in the access to medicine dialogue and effectively work together with other stakeholders on access to medicine issues.
Patient/healthcare professionals and the Index
The essence of improving access to medicine is ensuring that patients everywhere get the care they need, when they need it. Because those most affected by the limitations of access to medicine are patients and the professionals who care for them, the Access to Medicine Index team considers it a priority to hear what these parties have to say. This means giving healthcare professionals as well as patient group representatives a voice in determining which issues require attention, and also understanding how these groups benefit from existing access to medicine initiatives. While these groups have been included in stakeholder consultations for the current and previous Indices, the Access to Medicine Index team intends to place more emphasis on gathering feedback from healthcare professionals and patient group representatives during future consultations.
The Access to Medicine Index seeks to give everyone – including healthcare professionals and patients – the chance to follow the pharmaceutical industry’s progress with regard to access to medicine. The Index is intended to generate positive change from within the pharmaceutical industry, resulting in better availability and optimal quality of care worldwide. In this respect, healthcare professionals and patient groups stand to gain a great deal from the Index’s continued publication.