Global Public Health
Volume 15, 2020 Issue 6
Access to innovative medicines by pharma companies: Sustainable initiatives for global health or useful advertisement?
Michele de Medeiros Rocha, Emmanuel Paiva de Andrade, Edna Ribeiro Alves, João Carlos Cândido & Marcello de Miranda Borio
Published online: 18 Feb 2020
Research & Development on new medicines plays an important role in life and well-being, making pharmaceutical companies important players in global health. Accessibility and financing new medicines, however, poses challenges for governments and patients around the world. Due to pricing and aggressive patent policy issues, pharma companies started to adopt access to medicines as a strategy to not only improve their public image but also to increase their economic performance. More than a useful institutional advertisement to attract new business, initiatives to improve access to medicines must be socially responsible and sustainable. Using content analysis methodology from CSR reports, the present study evaluated how 44 global companies are positioning themselves regarding access, whether these initiatives are aligned to existing access programmes and whether the actions disclosed on behalf of access are sustainable. We have identified 13 major access to medicines approaches that were classified into intrinsic, potentially sustainable and robust actions. We concluded that companies overvalue the term access to medicine. This can generate initiatives focused on advertisements rather than long-term actions and highlights the need for clear global criteria for companies and programmes that want to effectively publicise access to medicines as a social responsibility strategy.