Industry-Led Access-To-Medicines Initiatives In Low- And Middle-Income Countries Strategies And Evidence
Author: Peter C. Rockers, Veronika J. Wirtz, Chukwuemeka A. Umeh, Preethi M. Swamy, Richard O. Laing
Global biopharmaceutical companies are increasingly establishing access-to-medicines (AtM) initiatives in low- and middle-income countries. We reviewed the initiatives of twenty-one research-based global biopharmaceutical companies to assess their strategies for improving access and the quality of evidence on the impact of their initiatives. The number of operating initiatives increased from 17 in 2000 to 102 in 2015. Of the 120 different AtM initiatives identified, 48 percent used a medicine donation strategy, and 44 percent used a price reduction strategy. While companies have frequently claimed that their initiatives have had positive impacts, we found published evaluations for only seven initiatives, and nearly all of the evaluations were of low (62 percent) or very low (32 percent) quality. It is clear that the biopharmaceutical industry has increased its commitment to improving access to medicines in low- and middle-income countries. However, companies should do more to generate high-quality evidence on their initiatives, and the global health community should do more to assist the developing of evidence about the initiatives.