Index reveals how vaccine companies are responding to key global health challenges
by Clarke Cole
The 2017 Access to Vaccines Index, published March 6, is the first publicly available tool that maps how the largest global players in the vaccine market are responding to global calls to increase access to vaccines. It looks at their efforts to develop, manufacture and supply preventive vaccines for 69 priority diseases and pathogens across 107 low- and middle-income countries. It has been developed by the Access to Medicine Foundation and funded by the Dutch National Postcode Lottery.
The Index and its methodology can be used to hold companies to account while tracking their progress against globally agreed immunisation targets. It can also act as a review mechanism for international immunisation agendas and priorities, including those set out in the WHO’s Global Vaccine Action Plan and the Sustainable Development Goals. Companies and other stakeholders in the vaccine ecosystem can use the Index to inform priority- and strategy-setting, and to clarify where new incentives would spur greater positive change.
The Index finds that the companies evaluated approach access to vaccines in differing ways, which are generally linked to their diverse pipelines, portfolios, revenues and sales. In its analysis, the Index identified nearly 90 vaccine R&D projects for high-priority diseases. This includes dozens of first-ever vaccines, for diseases such as Ebola and a range of deadly bacterial infections. The Index also finds that companies are taking steps to prevent vaccine shortages and that, when setting prices, many companies take affordability into account to a degree. All companies consider a country’s eligibility for support from Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, a public-private partnership that funds vaccine purchases for lower-income countries.
The Index covers four main sections:
- Industry landscape and key findings: This section presents an industry-level vaccine portfolio and pipeline analysis, identifies key findings, and looks ahead to where companies can do more.
- Cross-cutting analyses: Examination of industry responses to two current vaccine-access challenges: developing and deploying the first malaria and dengue vaccines; and responding to the threat of emerging infectious diseases.
- Three research area analyses: In-depth analyses of company performances on Research & Development, Pricing & Registration and Manufacturing & Supply.
- Eight company report cards: Each report card provides a detailed overview of how the company is approaching access to vaccines.
I welcome your responses to this new tool and any questions you may have about our findings. In particular, I am interested to hear how this tool may be useful to your work in global health. Please feel free to contact me directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.
About the Access to Medicine Foundation
The Access to Medicine Foundation is a non-profit organization based in the Netherlands. It aims to advance access to medicine in low- and middle-income countries by stimulating and guiding the pharmaceutical industry to play a greater role in improving access to medicine. The Foundation is funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs and UK AID. For 10 years, the Foundation has been building consensus on the role for the pharmaceutical industry in improving access to medicine and vaccines. It published its first benchmark of industry activity in this area in 2008, in the first Access to Medicine Index.
Clarke B. Cole has been engaged with the Coalition for four years, first as a student at McMaster University and later as a member of the Students and Young Professionals Network Executive Committee, Capacity Building working group, and 2015 Strategic Planning Committee. She is now a researcher at the Access to Medicine Foundation.