Access to Medicines Index highlights role of collaboration in stimulating R&D

Malaria among five diseases demonstrating success of research collaborations

21 Nov 2018

The 2018 Access to Medicine Index launched this week highlights the importance of collaboration in stimulating priority research and development,1 as exemplified in the areas of malaria among four other diseases.

The report states: ‘The pipelines for HIV/AIDS, malaria, tuberculosis, leishmaniasis and Chagas disease show that the combination of (1) prioritising gaps, (2) donor funding and (3) research collaboration can be successful in engaging pharmaceutical companies in priority R&D.’

The Index reports that every year, more than six million people in low- to middle-income countries die because the vaccines, medicines and diagnostic tests that they need are either ineffective or do not exist. The 2018 Index analysed how 20 of the world's largest pharmaceutical companies are addressing access to medicines in 106 countries for 77 diseases, conditions and pathogens. The report finds the pharmaceutical industry continues to mature in its approach to access to medicines, with models for good practice in areas such as planning and licensing for access.

GSK remains in first position, as Novartis moves up into second ahead of Johnson & Johnson and Merck KGaA. Meanwhile, Takeda made the largest gains in 2018, jumping ten places to fifth. Together with Sanofi, these companies are developing 63% of urgently needed medicines.

“The Access to Medicines Index is a vital resource, shining a light on what is and isn’t working in R&D and access to medicines in the field of priority diseases,” said David Reddy, CEO of MMV. “I am delighted to see malaria exemplified among the successful collaborations, and so many of MMV’s pharma partners listed in the top 20. It’s clear that partnerships are the way forward to stimulate research for diseases that afflict people in low- and middle-income countries. With the latest World Malaria Report highlighting a levelling-off in the pace of progress,  it’s also clear that we must not let up on these efforts for malaria, as for other priority diseases, until we have the tools to bring the burden down to zero.”  


1. Priority R&D is conducted for specific medicines, vaccines, diagnostic tests or other products needed as a priority by people living in low- and middle-in-come countries, as identified by the global health community.