Leaders consistently target local needs through best practice approaches to capacity building

Capacity Building


The pharmaceutical industry has an important role and an interest in supporting low- and middle-income countries to strengthen local health systems. To maximise the impact on access to medicine and to prevent conflicts of interest, companies’ activities must respond to local needs. This is more than good practice: it is a minimum requirement.

In 2016, the Index examines more closely how companies assess local skills and infrastructure gaps, and then design initiatives to target them. Overall, companies are engaged in a similar level of capacity building activities to 2014. Some companies focus on one or two key areas of expertise, while others undertake a range of diverse activities.

Main Findings

Six leaders addressing local capacity needs
Six leaders systematically address local needs when engaging in capacity building: AstraZeneca, GSK, Johnson & Johnson, Merck & Co., Inc.*, Merck KGaA, and Novartis. The leaders proactively engage with stakeholders to understand and respond to local capacity gaps, and measure the impact of their initiatives.

Figure 7. To build capacity within the pharmaceutical value chain, six leaders systematically address local needs
The Index examines companies’ activities to build capacity in four areas across the pharmaceutical value chain that impact access to medicine: R&D, manufacturing, supply chain management and pharmacovigilance. This figure shows how companies respond to local capacity needs in each area. Six leaders (AstraZeneca, GSK, Johnson & Johnson, Merck & Co., Inc., Merck KGaA, Novartis) systematically identify and address local skills and infrastructure gaps, which will help ensure activities make a greater contribution to health systems as a whole.

How to achieve best practice in capacity building
To ensure local needs are addressed, capacity building initiatives should address five criteria: 1) involve local partners; 2) have specific and measurable goals; 3) have clearly defined roles, responsibilities and accountability mechanisms; 4) have clear commitments and timeframes; and 5) have regular monitoring and evaluation and public sharing of approaches, progress and learnings.

Many companies are actively building capacity across the value chain and beyond
Pharmaceutical companies are building local capacity across the pharmaceutical value chain. Their philanthropic efforts often target identified needs outside the value chain, strengthening health systems more broadly.

Manufacturing capacity gets the most attention
More companies are active in manufacturing than in other areas. To build R&D and manufacturing capacity, companies are most active where infrastructure is stronger (e.g., China, Brazil, India and South Africa). Sub-Saharan Africa is the main focus for R&D partnerships and supply-chain strengthening. Efforts to build pharmacovigilance capacities are concentrated in Latin America.

Figure 28. Companies build R&D and manufacturing capacity in countries with stronger infrastructure, while strengthening supply chains and pharmacovigilance systems more widely.
When building R&D and manufacturing capacity, the industry is most active where infrastructure is stronger (e.g., Brazil, China, India, Kenya and South Africa). At the regional level, sub-Saharan Africa is a focus area for R&D partnerships and supply chain strengthening, but manufacturing capacity building is limited here. In Latin America, efforts to build pharmacovigilance capacity are concentrated but supply chain strengthening is not a focus.

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