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Index That Tracks Impact of Pharmaceuticals Worldwide to Relaunch, Focus on More Diseases

Researchers are ranking pharmaceutical companies based on their drugs' impact on global health

by Binghamton University
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Screenshot of the top global drug impact scoresCredit: Binghamton UniversityThe Global Health Impact Index, developed by faculty at Binghamton University, State University of New York to rank pharmaceutical companies based on their drugs' impact on global health, is launching a new, more-robust model that addresses even more diseases worldwide

A re-launch event, "The Global Health Impact Project: Progress Towards the Sustainable Development Goals," will takes place from noon-5 pm Friday, May 10, in 002 Robertston Hall at the Liechtenstein Institute of Self-Determination at Princeton University. A new website and models will be introduced, and two roundtable discussions will follow.

A media preview of the new data is available here:  Username: ghi / Password: ghi

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The Global Health Impact Index was first launched at the World Health Organization in Geneva in 2015 by Binghamton University associate professor of Philosophy Nicole Hassoun.

"Measuring the impact and effectiveness of essential treatments is crucial for a variety of stakeholders to determine where to allocate healthcare resources, and what medications should be prioritized in initiatives meant to advance global health," said Hassoun. "We must ask ourselves, what medications offer the greatest relief for malaria, for tuberculosis, for HIV/AIDS, and what pharmaceutical companies have been making a socially responsible effort to alleviate the global burden of disease?"

The new index confronts these uncertainties, and is a first step toward momentous change, said Hassoun. The new index also considers drugs' impacts over time, across countries and diseases, and assesses different parts of the pharmaceutical supply chain—showing how generics companies contribute to getting drugs to the people who need them.

"A lot of attention has been paid in determining the need for different drugs, but the Global Health Impact Index actually addresses the impact that these drugs are having globally," said Hassoun. "Having this information readily available could help improve the overall delivery of drugs and help save millions of lives."

The index looks at three things: the need for several important drugs for tuberculosis, HIV/AIDS, malaria, and multiple neglected tropical diseases; the drugs' effectiveness; and the number of people who can access these drugs. Each company's score is the sum of its drugs' impacts.

According to the index, the companies who came up with or hold the patent on drugs having the most impact on focus diseases are:

  •    Sanofi
  •    Novartis
  •    Pfizer

The manufacturers and distributors who had the largest drug impact scores on the index are:

  •      Remedica
  •      Guilin
  •      Laboratorio Reig Jofre S.A.

The countries who had the most need alleviated by various drugs are:

  •    India
  •    Nigeria
  •    Uganda

The diseases that have the largest global burden are:

  •    Malaria
  •    HIV/AIDS

Previously, the Global Health Impact Index utilized a preliminary model to evaluate the impact of medications used to treat HIV/AIDS, malaria and tuberculosis. The Global Health Impact project has greatly expanded its scope to include a multitude of other diseases plaguing both developing and developed countries. The new models include a variety of neglected tropical diseases (NTDs) that primarily impact low-impact communities around the world. While previous indexes have only measured the need for different drugs worldwide, the Global Health Impact Index is the first to measure the impact of these drugs.

"As the world moves forward in confronting detrimental diseases, and the social and economic ramifications that they bring," added Hassoun, "it is essential that we continuously evaluate the impacts of various medications, to accommodate the constantly changing scope of global health, whether that be the research and invention of new prevention and treatment plans, or the changing effects of disease."