More than two billion people lack access to necessary medicines. High costs and limited health care infrastructure prevent many people from benefiting from recent medical advancements, leaving populations at risk of preventable diseases. A recently released report by the Access to Medicine Foundation ranks the top 20 research-based pharmaceutical companies on the steps they take to increase access to medicines, diagnostics and vaccines for people in low- and middle-income countries. Sabin is proud to partner with seven of the top ten companies recognized in this year’s report.

The Access to Medicine Index was created in 2008 to evaluate pharmaceutical companies’ commitment to improving access to medicine. Performance is evaluated every two years by a committee made up of independent experts from institutions including the WHO, academia, investors and governments. The Committee determines companies’ rankings by considering their transparency, innovation, commitment and performance, as well as their progress across a number of key technical areas. The index also provides a report card for each company that lists its greatest innovations and areas for improvement.

The 2016 edition evaluates whether a company’s operations match priorities of the global health community. It also increasingly focuses on providing access for people in the greatest need, recognizing that developing medicines for diseases that affect people in poverty often have little profit incentive. Research and development (R&D) for these diseases, however, is an important means of increasing access to health and breaking the cycle of poverty. This year’s top ranking pharmaceutical companies are involved in R&D for diseases with low commercial incentive  including neglected tropical diseases  and are addressing gaps in access through the development of 151 new products for these low-profit, high-need diseases. 

Sabin has been working for over two decades to reduce needless human suffering from vaccine-preventable and neglected tropical diseases by developing new vaccines, advocating for increased use of existing vaccines, and promoting expanded access to affordable medical treatments. Sabin takes a multifaceted approach to increasing access to medicine and we are proud to work in partnership with many of this year’s highest ranked pharmaceutical companies. Sabin has been developing effective, low-cost vaccines for infectious and neglected diseases for more than a decade, producing a comprehensive, low-cost model that serves as a blueprint for nonprofit vaccine R&D. Sabin also works with countries and stakeholders to improve vaccine policy, financing and access.

In order to achieve equal access to medicine for all, collaboration and commitment from all stakeholders will be essential. Today, there is an urgent need to expand access to medicine in low and middle income countries, and ample opportunities to extend best practices and medical advancements to those in need. Catalyzing research and development through innovative financing mechanisms, for example, is one promising way to accelerate scientific breakthroughs that could help bring medical advancements to historically neglected populations. Sabin applauds the work of its partners and the other pharmaceutical companies recognized in this year’s rankings. Sabin also encourages more companies to embrace practices highlighted in this year’s report, such as better intellectual property-management and targeting local skills gaps in low-income countries, which improve lives and wellbeing. 


Photo by Mo Scarpelli