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Impact Score by Company
Important Notes about the Company Information

Important Notes About the Company Information



The rankings on this website are meant to provide a metric of the impacts of pharmaceutical companies’ drugs on a few important global diseases. This index is not meant to measure how “good” a pharmaceutical company is in relation to its peers, or how effective it has been at ensuring access to its drugs.

The impacts of the ranked companies’ drugs is only one of many measures of a company’s overall fulfillment of its social responsibilities. For instance, companies with high scores on this index may have poor access policies and those with lower scores better access policies. For a more complete picture, these rankings are best read in combination with other academic and civil society analyses of drug companies’ global impact.

A final limitation is the fact that this first iteration of the index credits a drug to the originator company whether or not the drug is still protected by a valid patent. This decision was made because, due to limited time and resources available for this first iteration of the index and given the complexity of the patent landscape, we were unable to find a workable solution that would appropriately credit the efforts of generics companies and originators. With limited capacity, we were left to decide whether or not to grant originator companies credit for off-patent drugs. Although originator companies no longer have exclusive control over the production and distribution of their drugs, we decided to give them credit for two main reasons: (1) it is only possible for the index to serve as a mechanism for incentivizing new innovation if originator companies are credited for bringing the drug to market--and these companies deserve some credit for doing so even after the patent expires and (2) it would be perverse to award a higher score to a company for keeping a lifesaving drug under patent, as patents restrict access. Future versions of the index will strive for a more comprehensive view that takes into account both the contribution of originator companies and the vital role of generics companies in ensuring access to essential medicines.

Purpose and Value:

While not intended to serve as a measure of good company behavior, we believe that this index can serve as a valuable tool. This ranking system serves as the first scientifically rigorous comparison of pharmaceutical companies by their drugs’ impacts on death and disability. A scientific model of this impact is a neglected, yet important, piece of the larger picture.

While we endorse the vital importance of strong access policies, we believe this ranking can be an important piece in that puzzle. Companies’ scores will improve most if they: (1) develop drugs that will have the biggest impact on the global burden of disease and (2) change their access policies to ensure these drugs (along with their existing products) reach as many people as possible. We strongly believe that this is best achieved by working closely with civil society organizations.

Of course, some companies may raise their scores by simply acquiring the most effective drugs for a particular disease (the first prong), and counting on governments and aid organizations to pay inflated prices for them (ignoring the second prong). Thus, for a complete picture, this ranking system must be read in conjunction with others (see Limitations, above).

Company Index

Every year 9 million people are diagnosed with tuberculosis, every day more than 13,400 people are infected with AIDS, every 30 seconds malaria kills a child. About a third of all deaths, 18 million a year, are poverty-related. The Global Health Impact Index considers how companies measure up on the basis of their drugs’ impact on these global health problems. It looks at three things:
  • The need for several important drugs for tuberculosis, HIV/AIDS, and malaria.
  • The drugs’ effectiveness.
  • The number of people who can access the drugs.
Each company’s score is the sum of its drugs’ impacts. For additional information, please see the Reports.