What is the ATMI?
The Access to Medicine Index, launched in 2008, is a biennial ranking of the world’s largest pharmaceutical company’s efforts to improve access to medicines. 54 global investors including EdenTree, representing $5.3trillion of assets under management, have signed an investor statement pledging their support to the initiative. The data generated by the Index is made publicly available and is utilised by investors, governments, NGOs and the pharmaceutical industry with the aim of improving access to medicine. The point of the Index is not to ‘name and shame’, but to provide insight and stimulate co-operation and improvement. The Index covers 20 of the largest research based pharmaceutical companies, operating in 107 countries across a broad range of products (drugs, vaccines & diagnostic testing) focussed on 51 ‘high-burden’ diseases. The 2016 Index Report, published on 14 November, can be found at www.accesstomedicineindex.org
What is the context for the ATMI?
One of the core UN Sustainable Development Goals for 2030 (SDGS) is to ‘ensure healthy lives and promote well-being for all at all ages’, whilst four of the eight predecessor UN Millennium Development Goals for 2015 related to improving health in the developing world. A decade and a half of focus on this once neglected area has seen real progress: polio is close to being eradicated as is guinea worm. Over 45% of people living with HIV/AIDS have access to anti-retroviral treatments. Vaccines against malaria and dengue fever are available. In total, the top 20 pharmaceutical companies are developing 420 products for the 51 most burdensome diseases and conditions in low and middle income countries. However, tropical diseases (such as Ebola) continue to be health burdens, and treatment for some conditions remains limited at best. The Index examines 22 diseases where a need for new products has been identified, but where just 18 are being addressed. Conditions such as soil-transmitted helminthiasis, Buruli ulcer, trachoma, cysticercosis and syphilis have no R&D currently dedicated to them, whilst E-coli, cholera and some diarrhoeal diseases are receiving only limited attention.
What does access depend on?
Access to medicine depends on a number of factors:
- Availability: ensuring new or existing products are adapted for local use
- Accessibility: ensuring people can receive products and know how to administer them
- Affordability: ensuring patients, healthcare providers and government can afford the product
- Acceptability: ensuring products are safe, efficacious and work as intended
To view more questions and answers on the ATMI please read our SRI Expert Brief by clicking below.Download PDF