European Drug Companies Lead 'Access to Medicine Index'

By Access To Medicine Index, PRNE
Saturday, June 19, 2010

Independent Ranking Shows More Transparency, More Programs for Low-income Countries

AMSTERDAM, June 20, 2010 - European pharmaceutical companies outcompete their U.S. counterparts in
making medicines available to people in developing countries, but their lead
is shrinking, according to the second Access to Medicine Index, released

Compared to 2008, when the first Index was published, pharma companies
have given more insight into their policies and actions to increase people's
access to medicines in developing countries, researchers say in a report
underpinning the ranking. They identify more industry initiatives than two
years ago, but also see room for improvement.

"The Access to Medicine Index independently assesses how individual
pharmaceutical companies perform in promoting universal access to essential
medicines, and is thus an important tool in improving performance," said Dr
Carissa Etienne, Assistant Director-General at the World Health Organization

"The 2010 ranking reveals important progress, if only because companies
have shown far greater willingness to open up. The Index unveils great
improvements, especially in the areas of research and development, and
equitable pricing. At the same time, it shows that the industry as a whole
still has a long way to go," said Wim Leereveld, the Index's founder.

The Access to Medicine Index ranks 20 of the world's largest
pharmaceutical companies on their efforts to make sure that medicines are
made for, and reach, people in developing countries. The Index encourages
drug companies to compete and offers investors and others a way to compare
their social responsibility records.

The Access to Medicine Index 2010 identifies GlaxoSmithKline (U.K.) as
current industry leader in improving access to needed medicines. Following in
its footsteps are Merck & Co. (U.S.), Novartis (Switzerland), Gilead Sciences
(U.S.), and Sanofi-Aventis (France).

Gilead Sciences (U.S.) and Pfizer (U.S.) moved up strongly in the
ranking; Bayer (Germany), Bristol-Myers Squibb (U.S.), Merck KGaA (Germany)
and Novo Nordisk (Denmark) were down.

In the Index 2010, six of the ten highest-ranking originator companies
are based in Europe, while four are U.S.-based. Two years ago, seven European
companies got a top-10 ranking.

Also, generic drug makers, who do less research but produce low-cost
off-patent drugs, now have a separate ranking. Ranbaxy Laboratories (India)
and Cipla (India) top that list.

The Access to Medicine Index was created by the Access to Medicine
Foundation, a Netherlands-based non-profit, and was researched by RiskMetrics
ESG Analytics, part of MSCI Inc., a global provider of investment decision
support tools.

Note to reporters: for more information or interview requests, see or contact Sue-Lane Wood at tel: +31-62-888-8965, E-mail: slwood at

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