AbbVie Inc.

Stock Exchange: XNYS • Ticker: ABBV • HQ: North Chicago, IL, US • Employees: approx. 28,000

Ranking by technical area
Ranking by strategic pillar


AbbVie remains 9th. It has made positive moves: notably it has newly licensed HIV/AIDS products and increased its donations activities. Once again, it was not found to have breached laws or regulations. Its performance in R&D remains strong, including in IP-sharing and engagement in R&D partnerships. Its performance is static in certain areas, such as in access management, and its approach to transparency in marketing and lobbying remains conservative. The company has been outperformed in other areas. It applies equitable pricing to more products than in 2014, only half target high-burden countries. AbbVie takes limited account of socio-economic factors when setting prices for different groups within countries. It is building pharmacovigilance capacity, mainly in Latin America.

Change since 2014

Has implemented a new performance management system for governing its access-to-medicine activities.

Has once again received no negative judgements concerning unethical behaviour.

Newly ties R&D targets to the Sustainable Development Goals.

Has more products with equitable pricing strategies than in 2014, but still for limited proportion of products.

Improves its accountability for its sales agents’ pricing practices.

Licenses ritonavir/lopinavir (Kaletra®) for generic manufacture by multiple companies (via the Medicines Patent Pool).

Provides pharmacovigilance training to regulators and universities, with a focus on Latin America.

Expands donation activity for respiratory distress in newborns to four countries.


Introduce a structured approach to product registration. A structured approach would entail setting clear registration targets within a fixed timeframe, tied to decision-making criteria. This can help AbbVie ensure new products are brought to markets in low- and middle-income countries as soon as possible upon leaving the pipeline. It can also help ensure key, high-need markets are not overlooked. The following products, for example, can be registered in more high-need countries such as China and Indonesia: combination ombitasvir/paritaprevir/ritonavir (Technivie®) and dasabuvir/ombitasvir/paritaprevir+ritonavir (Viekira Pak®).

Establish an overarching access strategy. AbbVie can further develop its access approaches into a strategy and clearly align it with its corporate strategy. It can prioritise the wider availability of high-need products for populations in need. This would require systematically using more equitable pricing and reponsible IP-management strategies.

Extend licensing activities. AbbVie can expand the geographic scope of licences agreed for formulations of ritonavir (Kaletra®) in its licensing activities. AbbVie can also use licensing to increase access to dasabuvir/ombitasvir/paritaprevir+ritonavir (Viekira Pak®).

Target local needs when building capacity. AbbVie can strengthen its identification and targeting of local skills gaps in low- and middle-income countries when engaging in capacity building (for example, to increase local R&D capacity). The company can also demonstrate that it has a clear process in place for mitigating conflicts of interest when building capacity outside the pharmaceutical value chain.

Sales and operations

AbbVie was established in 2013. It has one segment, pharmaceutical products, with products for immunology, kidney disease, liver disease, neuroscience, oncology and women’s health. The company has sales in 81 countries in scope. Approximately 20% of its sales are generated in emerging and frontier markets.

In 2015, AbbVie completed the acquisition of Pharmacyclics, a haematological oncology company, for approx. USD 20.8 bn.

Sales in countries in scope
Sales by division
Sales by region

Portfolio and pipeline

AbbVie has a small portfolio of 10 products for diseases in scope, and a mid-sized pipeline of 26 R&D projects that address the needs of people in countries in scope.

The majority of AbbVie’s portfolio consists of medicines for viral hepatitis, HIV/AIDS and epilepsy. The company has gained five market approvals since 2014: including, in Q4 2014, FDA marketing authorization for dasabuvir (Exviera®) and ombitasvir/paritaprevir/ritonavir (Technivie®), both for the treatment of hepatitis C.

Products per disease category

AbbVie’s portfolio focuses on communicable and non-communicable diseases: the majority targets HIV/AIDS, viral hepatitis and epilepsy.

The company is developing medicines that target five communicable diseases, four Neglected Tropical Diseases (NTDs) and diabetes. A large proportion of its pipeline targets high-priority product gaps with low commercial incentive, including for malaria, viral hepatitis and certain NTDs. Since 2014, several of AbbVie’s R&D projects have progressed along the pipeline.

Pipeline projects

AbbVie is active in R&D collaborations. AbbVie has access-oriented terms and conditions for a group of its R&D collaborations that target malaria and NTDs.

First-line treatments and essential medicines

60% of the medicines in AbbVie’s portfolio are listed on the WHO EML and/or as first-line treatments: e.g., clarithromycin (Biaxin®) and ombitasvir/paritaprevir/ritonavir (Technivie®).

Pipeline by stage of development
– Innovative medicines and vaccines

AbbVie’s relevant pipeline is focused on innovative medicines, with most projects in early stages of research. It has five viral hepatitis medicines in clinical development, plus atrasentan for diabetic nephropathy.

Pipeline by stage of development
– Adaptive medicines and vaccines

AbbVie’s paediatric oral powder formulation of ritonavir (Norvir®) for HIV/AIDS was granted EU approval in 2015. It has several features intended to improve suitability for children, such as the elimination of alcohol.

Please refer to the pdf of the report card (that can be downloaded here) for information on AbbVie’s performance per technical area.


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