Pharmaguy's Insights Into Drug Industry News
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Pharmaguy's Insights Into Drug Industry News
Pharmaguy curates and provides insights into selected drug industry news and issues.
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2016 Access to Medicine Index. GSK Tops the List, Roche & Astellas at Bottom, Pfizer Not So Much

2016 Access to Medicine Index. GSK Tops the List, Roche & Astellas at Bottom, Pfizer Not So Much | Pharmaguy's Insights Into Drug Industry News |

This new analysis by the Access to Medicine Foundation shows which large pharmaceutical companies are marketing the most essential medicines and vaccines. It matches companies’ on-market portfolios with the WHO Model Essential Medicines List (EML), which identifies medicines considered crucial for meeting people’s health-care needs.


The Access to Medicine Index analyses the top 20 research-based pharmaceutical companies on how they make medicines, vaccines and diagnostics more accessible in low- and middle-income countries. It highlights best and innovative practices, and areas where progress has been made and where action is still required. It has been published every two years since 2008.


The 2016 Index used a framework of 83 metrics to measure company performances relating to 51 high-burden diseases in 107 countries. For the 2016 Index, the weight of the performance pillar was increased to 50%. The framework is reviewed every two years, with reference to the Expert Review Committee of independent experts, from, among others, the WHO, governments, patient organisations, the industry, academia and investors. This process ensures that Index metrics express what stakeholders expect from pharmaceutical companies.

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Pharma Not Pleased with UN Panel Report Urging Wider Access to Medicines

Pharma Not Pleased with UN Panel Report Urging Wider Access to Medicines | Pharmaguy's Insights Into Drug Industry News |

After a year of anticipation, the United Nations on Wednesday released a lengthy report that urges governments to take various steps to ensure greater access to needed medicines. And the list contains several proposals that have previously caused struggles with the pharmaceutical industry, suggesting the agency effort may be difficult to actually implement.


The report comes amid rising anxiety that too many people in a growing number of countries are unable to afford medications, whether these are the newest salves or older remedies. At the same time, the panel also addresses an equally compelling concern that not enough is being done to develop drugs to treat diseases that predominantly afflict poor populations.


Among the recommendations: the UN panel suggested countries should pursue compulsory licenses, which allow countries to sidestep patents and arrange for an alternative version of a medicine to become available. Despite long-running disputes over access, though, governments have shied away from pursuing licenses over concerns about repercussions.


A recent high-profile example is playing out in Colombia, where the government made plans to issue a license and sidestep a patent for a Novartis cancer drug. The move prompted US Senate staffers and US trade officials to threaten the Colombian government by withholding support for peace talks with rebels and a trade agreement.


Consumer and patient advocacy groups largely praised the UN report. Doctors Without Borders, for instance, called it a “landmark report.” But some complained that the panel did not go far enough in some ways. Beyond encouraging governments to issue these licenses, Health GAP said the UN should have “condemned trade agreements and national laws” that do not make clear that countries have the right to issue a compulsory license.


The panel also said countries should require drug makers to disclose certain costs — such as R&D, production, and marketing. The goal is to spur more transparency from drug companies, which have long argued that higher costs justify higher prices. This thinking has also prompted lawmakers in several states in the United States to introduce bills with such requirements, although only Vermont has passed a law.


Another recommendation is for companies that receive public funds to publish their research findings. On a similar note, the panel suggested that drug makers should make publicly available all anonymous patient data from completed and discontinued clinical trials. The report recommended data sharing and data access should be a condition for public grants for R&D.


The Pharmaceutical Research & Manufacturers of America was not pleased, though. The industry trade group called the report a “a missed opportunity to address the wide array of barriers to access that far too many people face every day.”


“As a consequence, the final report focuses narrowly on solutions which fail to recognize and address the complexity of biopharmaceutical research and development and the significant work already taking place to advance access to care. As such, neither this report nor its recommendations can be a sound basis for further consideration or action by the UN system.”

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