Access Principles

Access Principles

Various stakeholders are calling on the global pharmaceutical industry to provide greater transparency regarding the impact of access strategies and initiatives, as well as evidence of how access strategies are integrated into an overall business strategy.



In response, we continue to employ our Access to Health Statement of Guiding Principles to inform our worldwide approach to access.


Research & Development
We will engage in R&D to provide medicines and vaccines that address vital global health needs.

Manufacturing & Supply
We are committed to providing patients and customers with high-quality products and a reliable supply of safe and effective medicines and vaccines.

We will register our products in a timely fashion in markets where they are needed.

We will commercialize our products in a way that develops our company’s business and meets local needs in a responsible and efficient manner.

Community Investment
We recognize that we cannot address complex public health challenges on our own; therefore, we will engage in community investment to address the barriers to access where we believe we can make the strongest contribution.

Because of our leadership in this area, our Access Principles and key performance indicators informed the global health work of the Interfaith Center on Corporate Responsibility (ICCR) and the development of its Statement of Principles and Recommended Corporate Practices to Promote Global Health, and also informed an industrywide effort through the Business for Social Responsibility (BSR) Healthcare Working Group to develop its Guiding Principles on Access to Healthcare (GPAH).


We also have a group dedicated to ensuring access to essential medicines in Africa, called the Institutional Business Africa (IBA) unit. IBA consists of a dedicated team of public health and medical specialists based across sub-Saharan Africa that fosters strategic collaborations and provides policy and technical guidance to countries focused on the areas of family planning and vaccines to achieve sustainable benefits for people and communities in Africa.

IBA is guided by four important principles, represented by the abbreviation PASS:

P: Public health outcomes, guided by leading global alliances focused on reproductive health (RHSC, FP2020) and immunizations (GAVI), aligned with country public health goals

A: Affordability, focusing on economic levels and optimization of available funding

S: Sustainability for countries, ensuring that a long-term perspective is in place for country programs using our products

S: Sustainability for our business, ensuring that we can maintain our commitment to long-term partnerships that leverage our innovative products and services

To further embed the IBA approach in the region, the IBA business unit was recently aligned with the English and Portuguese Africa business unit to form the sub-Saharan Africa combined business unit, which is managed out of our South Africa office.

Our IBA approach continues to help expand patient access. For example, in 2015, we introduced our HPV vaccine in two countries, Rwanda and Uganda, and vaccinated 1 million girls. By 2016, we had conducted demonstration projects for HPV vaccination in 25 countries. We are committed to doing our part to help Gavi, the vaccine alliance, reach its HPV vaccination goals.

Measuring how we’re doing is a challenging but important component of our access strategy, as it enables us, through relevant quantitative indicators, to demonstrate our progress in implementing our Access Principles and to measure the effectiveness of our efforts.


As one example of how our efforts align with our Access Principles, we joined 21 other biopharmaceutical companies to launch Access Accelerated, a global initiative to advance access to noncommunicable disease (NCD) prevention and care in low- and lower-middle-income countries. The announcement was made during the 2017 annual meeting of the World Economic Forum. Building on long-standing individual company investments in global health, Access Accelerated brings together partners focused on a variety of access barriers to NCD prevention, treatment and care. Efforts are being evaluated with the support of independent experts at Boston University to establish a framework for progress, measure effectiveness and deliver ongoing reporting, with the first evaluation report expected in mid-2018.


To further embed access strategies in our business, in 2017 we launched the new Integrated Value Toolkit, an internal resource to enhance our focus on using business solutions to address social issues of importance to customers and stakeholders. Using lenses such as CR materiality and the UN Sustainable Development Goals, the Integrated Value Toolkit complements existing planning and strategy tools as a way to encourage the exploration and deployment of business solutions that can address health-related social concerns and other development challenges. In 2018, we will continue to deploy the Toolkit throughout the company to enable the creation of integrated business and social impact.