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Global Access to Medicines - A Key Social Responsibility

About one third of the world’s population still has no regular access to essential medicines. Many of the world’s population does not have access to existing medicines and in some cases, medicines may not even exist to treat the conditions from which they are suffering. The pharmaceutical industry is just one of the players with a role in creating access to much needed medicines to people across the globe. Started by Dutch entrepreneur Wim Leereveld in 2008, an independent initiative called the Access to Medicine Index has been ranking pharmaceutical companies according to their efforts to make their products more available in developing countries. The Index rates the top 20 research-based pharmaceutical companies on their performance in the following 7 areas: General Access to Medicine, Public Policy and Market Influence, Research and Development, Pricing, Manufacturing and Distribution, Patents and Licensing, Capability Advancement, and Product Donations. The 2014 Index findings show that 17/20 companies are doing more than they were 4 years ago and the gap between the companies at the top and bottom is becoming narrower and that companies are becoming more strategic in their approach. Some companies are even creating departments/divisions within their organizations specifically designed to support access in developing countries.


This year’s Lois K. Cohen lecture, being presented by Dr. P. Roy Vagelos, former CEO and chairman of the board of Merck and current Regeneron Chairman of the board, will focus on how the pharmaceutical industry contributes to the healthcare of developing countries and why it is important for health practitioners to be aware of the need for pharmaceutical involvement in global health issues. Using a few past and current examples, Dr. Vagelos will describe how the biopharmaceutical industry impacts developing countries, and he will discuss the critical factors required for a public company to make important contributions to developing countries. Dr. Vagelos will also describe the benefits to a pharmaceutical company that makes a major contribution to developing countries. We encourage you to join us for this discussion on Thursday, Sept. 26, from 5:30-7:30 p.m., at USciences McNeil Science and Technology Center. For more information on how to register, watch my brief YouTube invite or visit our website.


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