First Independent Ten-Year Analysis. Are Pharmaceutical Companies Making Progress When It Comes to Global Health? May 2019. Access to Medicine Foundation
(2019; 49 pages)



  • This report analyses ten years of data to assess whether pharmaceutical companies are doing more today for the 2 billion people worldwide who live without access to medicine.
  • The data have been gathered since 2008 for the Access to Medicine Index, the most comprehensive, long-running independent survey of company behaviour on access to medicine.
  • The 20 pharmaceutical companies evaluated in this report account for approximately 70% of global pharmaceutical revenues. Global pharmaceutical sales are expected to reach USD 1.06 trillion by 2022. Emerging economies are expected to account for 25% of global spending on pharmaceuticals by 2020.
  • The findings identify which activities are increasing, where gaps remain, and where standard practice is improving. They cover strategy, R&D, pricing and licensing, among other areas.
  • The report provides a springboard for discussions on how the progress to date can be expanded across the industry in order to achieve SDG 3 by 2030.


In the era of modern medicine, many major milestones have been reached, from a near-eradication of polio globally to a reduction in new HIV infections by more than half since the peak of the HIV/AIDS crisis. As the world works toward achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) by 2030, continuing to expand access to medicine must be a top priority, particularly access for people living in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs), which together account for 83% of all people alive today. Action is needed from many quarters, including from national governments, civil society and the private sector. Pharmaceutical companies, as innovators and producers of medicines and vaccines, are key partners for advancing universal health coverage (UHC) and improving immunisation rates. They have a responsibility to develop real innovative treatments in priority areas and improve the availability of products to all people, regardless of socioeconomic standing.


This is the first independent ten-year report to assess how pharmaceutical companies are responding to calls to improve global health. It is based on data that have been collected, verified and analysed by the Access to Medicine Foundation. It covers 20 of the world’s largest research-based pharmaceutical companies, which the Foundation has tracked since 2008. This analysis covers: (a) areas where pharmaceutical companies have a clear role and responsibility to act; and (b) where action by pharmaceutical companies is critical for improving access to medicine. Much of the data were collated for the Access to Medicine Index, which evaluates the 20 companies in seven areas of behaviour: strategy and governance, conduct and compliance, R&D, pricing, licensing, capacity building and donations. The report assesses absolute progress and the changing level of industry engagement since 2008, examining the numbers of companies involved as well as key measures, such as the numbers of R&D projects or voluntary licences. The analyses go back as far as data permit, and no earlier than 2008.

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