More drug companies are being urged to prioritise treatments for people in the developing world after a new report has shown that just a handful of the world’s major firms are making the majority of global health products.
A review of pharmaceutical companies’ efforts to improve access to medicines among people in low and middle income countries has found that just five firms – GSK, Johnson & Johnson (J&J), Sanofi, Merck and Novartis – are conducting two thirds of the research and development into these diseases.
UK pharmaceutical giant GSK has by far the most products in the pipeline, with 58, followed by J&J with 41 and Sanofi with 33. But the report warned that if any of them withdrew from the market the world’s most vulnerable communities could be left without access to vital drugs.
Danny Edwards, research lead at the Access to Medicine Foundation, said: “It’s great that companies are focusing their efforts on global health but there’s a danger that if any of them decided to pull away from this it would have a big impact. We would like to see more companies come to the table.”
Katy Athersuch, policy adviser for the charity Médecins Sans Frontières’ access campaign, said...