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A leading British pharmaceutical company has been given top marks for its ethical treatment of underprivileged people.
GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) ranked first in an index of 20 firms compiled by the independent, non-profit organisation Access to Medicine Foundation (AMF), based in Haarlem, Netherlands.
AMF’s remit is to assess whether pharmaceutical firms give people in the developing world access to their products and it found that GSK came out top, ahead of Danish company Novo Nordisk and Merck of the US.
The four firms which performed worst include three top US multinationals – Wyeth, Schering-Plough and the world’s biggest research-based drug company, Pfizer.
AMF said that two billion people worldwide are unable to get the medications they need – either because they cannot afford them, or because the drugs are not in production.
“Rather than looking at the pharmaceutical industry as a black box, the Access to Medicine Index finds good practices within individual companies and holds them up as shining examples to others,” said Wim Leereveld, the Index’s founder.
The index measured criteria including companies’ management of policies increasing access, the amount of research and development in the “neglected diseases” area, patenting and licensing policies and the use of fair pricing systems.
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