Analysis: European pharmaceutical companies provide more drugs to developing countries than US peers

According to the Access to Medicine Index, which ranks the world's top pharmaceutical companies on their efforts to ensure that drugs are available to people in developing countries, six of the ten highest-ranking drugmakers that lead access to medicine were based in Europe in 2010, while four were US-based. In 2008, seven of these drugmakers were in Europe.

In the latest analysis, GlaxoSmithKline leads the industry in improving access to drugs in developing countries, followed by Merck & Co., Novartis, Gilead Sciences and sanofi-aventis. The Access to Medicine Foundation, which developed the index, noted that this year, US drugmakers Gilead Sciences and Pfizer both moved up in the ranking, while Bayer, Bristol-Myers Squibb, Merck KGaA and Novo Nordisk ranked lower. Generic drug manufacturers were ranked separately, with Ranbaxy and Cipla topping the list.

Commenting on the rankings, index founder Wim Leereveld noted that it revealed "great improvements," particularly in R&D and equitable pricing, but warned that "at the same time, it shows that the industry as a whole still has a long way to go."

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