| LONDON, June 21
LONDON, June 21 European drugmakers still
outrank their U.S. counterparts in making medicines available to
poor people, but the lead they established two years ago is
starting to shrink, according an analysis published on Monday.
The Access to Medicines Index (AMI) -- released this week
for the second time since its launch in 2008 -- is produced by a
Dutch-based foundation and backed by 22 institutional investors
and fund managers, who together manage $3.1 trillion in assets.
It put Britain's GlaxoSmithKline (GSK.L) at the top of its
list of 20 of the world's largest pharmaceutical companies,
ranked on the efforts to make sure medicines are made for, and
reach, people in developing countries.
The index is designed to offer investors a way to compare
drugmakers' social responsibility records.
Behind GSK, which lead the field in improving access to
drugs and vaccines, came the U.S. drugs giant Merck & Co
(MRK.N)., Switzerland's Novartis NOVN.VX, U.S.-based Gilead
Sciences (GILD.O), and France's Sanofi-Aventis (SASY.PA).
In the 2010 index, six of the ten highest-ranking companies
are based in Europe, while four are based in the U.S. This
compares with two years ago, when seven European and three U.S.
firms got a top 10 ranking.
The analysis found big differences between the world's
largest pharmaceutical companies in their efforts to provide
millions of people in low-income countries with affordable drugs
But compared to 2008, when the first index was published,
drug companies gave more insight into their policies and actions
to increase poor people's access to medicines, AMI researchers
said in a report.
"The Index 2010 reveals important progress, if only because
companies have shown far greater willingness to open up," said
Wim Leereveld, the index's founder.
He said AMI's analysis had found "great improvements",
especially in the areas of research and development, and
equitable pricing, but added: "At the same time, it shows that
the industry as a whole still has a long way to go."
Carissa Etienne of the World Health Organisation, said the
index would serve as an "important tool in improving
performance" in the industry.
Fund managers supporting the foundation's work include
Trillium, AMP, F&C, Aviva, Sarasin, Henderson and Schroders.
The full ranking is as follows:
1 GlaxoSmithKline PLC
2 Merck & Co Inc
3 Novartis AG
4 Gilead Sciences
6 Roche ROG.VX
7 AstraZeneca PLC (AZN.L)
8 Novo Nordisk (NOVOb.CO)
9 Johnson & Johnson (JNJ.N)
10 Abbott Laboratories Ltd (ABT.N)
11 Pfizer Inc (PFE.N)
12 Boehringer Ingelheim
13 Eli Lilly (LLY.N)
14 Bayer AG (BAYGn.DE)
15 Bristol-Myers Squibb (BMY.N)
16 Eisai Co (4523.T)
17 Merck KGaA AG (MRCG.DE)
18 Takeda Pharmaceuticals (4502.T)
19 Astellas Pharma (4503.T) Inc
20 Daiichi Sanyko Co Ltd
(Editing by Jon Loades-Carter)