Capacity Building



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How the companies perform

The scores are spread widely, with the pack divided into four groups: six leaders (including two distinct frontrunners), closely followed by a pair of good performers, a closely-ranked middle group of eight and four laggards. This reflects the diversity of company performances: both in the breadth of activities per company and how they target local needs.


As a pack, companies demonstrate a similar level of capacity building activity as in 2014. Manufacturing in particular continues to be a focus area. Many companies exhibit best practice in one or more areas. Average scores are lower than in 2014. This is partly because the 2016 Index places more emphasis on how companies ensure their activities address local needs and skills gaps. This change has also led to some changes in the leading group.

Leaders target local needs across all areas

In the leading group, Novartis and GSK are clear frontrunners, standing out for their strength across all five areas, and for consistently targeting country-specific requirements. Novartis is particularly strong in R&D capacity building in countries in scope, while GSK’s strengthening of local pharmacovigilance systems is notable. Both companies improved their performance in key areas from 2014, and were among the few to increase their scores in 2016. As a result, they have risen to the top two spots.

The six leading companies have activities in all five areas, and showed frequent and systematic consideration of local needs. These companies generally demonstrate most, if not all, of the following behaviours: clear commitments and processes to assess and address local needs through their capacity building activities; formalised and often long-term partnerships with local stakeholders such as governments and non-government organisations; a proactive approach to sharing information with relevant stakeholders; and a willingness to pilot new capacity building approaches, and to measure and share the outcomes of these. This is a relatively stable group: all six leaders in 2016 have made comparatively small changes in ranking since 2014.

2014 leaders are overtaken, despite maintaining performance

The middle pack is led by Novo Nordisk and Sanofi – ranked 1st and 2nd in 2014. While both maintained their performances since 2014, they have been outperformed by the current leaders, particularly in areas relating to company transparency and information sharing. Nevertheless, both companies perform well overall and there is a clear gap between them and the densely-packed middle group. Capacity building outside the pharmaceutical value chain is a key strength for both.

Japanese companies rise into middle group

The middle pack comprises eight companies, newly including all four Japanese companies measured in the Index. Three were the biggest risers overall: Astellas (nine places), Daiichi Sankyo (nine places) and Takeda (seven places). This reflects increased engagement and capacity building activities among this group, who were ranked toward the bottom in 2014. Astellas has improved its performance in multiple areas, especially capacity building in supply chain management and outside the pharmaceutical value chain. Daiichi Sankyo also improved its performance in several areas, making the strongest commitment to reporting falsified medicines (newly measured in 2016). Takeda’s improved ranking reflects its performance in pharmacovigilance and R&D capacity building. The remaining Japanese company, Eisai, rose two positions from 2014.

Overall, the middle pack has mixed strengths and weaknesses, and their consideration of local needs is inconsistent. Some companies do not demonstrate any activities in certain areas, but have specific strengths. For example, Pfizer performed relatively well in supply chain management capacity building, but demonstrated no relevant activities to strengthen pharmacovigilance systems. AbbVie, on the other hand, performed very well in pharmacovigilance, but gave no evidence of relevant capacity building in manufacturing.

Other companies are actively building capacities in all areas, yet are not performing uniformly across them: for example, compared to 2014, Bayer demonstrated fewer relevant capacity building activities. However, it does demonstrate a relatively strong approach to strengthening pharmacovigilance systems in countries in scope. Bayer is one of the furthest fallers in 2016 (four places).

Laggards show limited consideration of local needs

There are four laggards: Bristol-Myers Squibb, Boehringer Ingelheim, Gilead, and Roche. They demonstrate a relatively narrow range of relevant activities, and did not show particular strength in any area. In the activities they do undertake, their consideration of local needs to strengthen health system capacity is generally limited. Most companies in the bottom group had larger-than-average score drops, reflecting poorer performance in real terms (notwithstanding methodological changes).

Three laggards were also among the biggest fallers: Boehringer Ingelheim (13 places), Roche (six places), and Gilead (four places). Boehringer Ingelheim’s performance in R&D capacity building in Index countries was average, but it is less active in key areas such as manufacturing. It was also outperformed by other companies in areas such as pharmacovigilance and in building capacities not linked to the pharmaceutical value chain. Roche publicly acknowledges the importance of capacity building for improving access to medicine and health outcomes, and continues to undertake such activities in countries in scope. However, it did not share sufficient details of these activities publicly or directly to the Index. It is therefore difficult to determine the company’s performance and progress in this area, as reflected in its lower score. Gilead’s performance in building manufacturing capacity in Index countries was average, but the company submitted no relevant R&D partnerships.

The remaining company in the lagging group, Bristol-Myers Squibb, does not clearly target skills gaps within the pharmaceutical value chain. It has a low level of capacity building activities in R&D and manufacturing, and no relevant activities in supply chain management and pharmacovigilance. However, the company does have a very strong philanthropic approach and builds capacities outside the value chain in response to local needs.

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