BRITISH pharmaceutical giant GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) has topped the Access to Medicine Index 2016. The index, funded by the UK and Dutch governments and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, analyses the top 20 research-based pharmaceutical companies on how they make medicines, vaccines and diagnostics more accessible in low- and middle-income countries.
GSK accounted for the most research and development projects in areas of great need but with low commercial incentive. The company came first for the fifth time, followed by Johnson & Johnson, Novartis and Merck. AstraZeneca jumped from 15th to seventh position after introducing a new affordability-based pricing strategy.
The Access to Medicine Foundation, a Netherlands-based non-profit, warned that while the availability of medicines is improving, the industry needs to do more on affordable pricing and the fight against corruption.