The Access to Medicines Index today released their annual rankings and report into the state of access to medicines policies of the pharmaceutical industry.
MSF responds with the following quote:
“MSF appreciates the efforts of the Access to Medicines Index to collect data that sheds light on the policies and practices of the pharmaceutical industry - an industry which remains deeply shrouded in, and benefits from, secrecy. While it is important to document strategies that companies have taken forward to address unmet health needs, our experience is that the few measures that companies often highlight are dramatically outweighed by many hidden practices that undermine access to medicines. GSK, the leader in the Access to Medicines Index, and Pfizer both recently reduced the price of their pneumococcal conjugate vaccine for humanitarian organisations working in emergencies, but both companies continue to charge unaffordable prices in middle-income countries.
Although ranked in the top 10 companies of the Access to Medicines Index, Gilead has priced its hepatitis C medicines largely out of reach for the majority of people with hepatitis C, who live in middle-income countries that are not included in Gilead’s licensing agreements with generic producers. Additionally, as pointed out in the Access to Medicines Index report, registration for existing hepatitis c drugs such as sofosbuvir and sofosbuvir/ledipasvir have not been filed or made available in the majority of countries in need. “Currently the extent to which people around the world are being left behind by companies in the Access to Medicine Index undermines the rationale for ranking companies as any better or worse than each other.
The industry as a whole is failing people and health care workers around the world, and increasingly their practices are also causing serious challenges in rich countries. Most of the companies in the Access to Medicine Index, and many others, spend significant resources influencing governments to refrain from taking measures that protect the health and well-being of their people, and then seek to replace government action with voluntary industry measures. Even as companies can and should strive to do more, the only way to really deliver lasting change for the people we serve, and many others, will be for governments to set clear access requirements that all companies must meet.”
- Rohit Malpani, Director, Policy and Analysis, Médecins Sans Frontières Access Campaign