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Pharma Companies Improving Access To Medicines But Lack Oversight Of Outsourced Clinical Trials, Analysis Says

Pharmaceutical companies are showing “greater accountability in the boardroom today over access to medicines, with more openness, targets and investment in drugs relevant to the poor,” but they “show no evidence that they adequately supervise the conduct of outsourced clinical drug trials, according to a new analysis released on Wednesday,” the Financial Times reports (Jack, 11/28). Published every two years, the Access to Medicine Index “ranks the world’s 20 biggest drug companies,” BBC News notes, adding, “GlaxoSmithKline remains at the top of the index, followed closely by Johnson & Johnson and Sanofi.”

Looking at drug development, the index said the focus continued to be on respiratory and diarrheal diseases, HIV, and malaria, but some neglected tropical diseases are gaining attention, BBC notes. In addition, “[m]ore companies were found to be running ‘tiered pricing’ schemes, in which medicines are cheaper for targeted countries or populations,” the news service writes. The independent Netherlands-based index is funded in part by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and the U.K. Department for International Development, according to the news service (Dreaper, 11/27).