Investors publish statement of principles and recommended corporate practices to promote global health

Apr 7th 2014

New Technologies and Business Models like the Medicines Patent Pool that Challenge Conventional Pricing, R & D and Intellectual Property Paradigms Seen as Critical if Pharmaceutical Industry is to Meet Health Care Needs in Developing and Emerging Markets

New York, NY – Monday, April 7th, 2014 – In commemoration of World Health Day 2014, today members of the Interfaith Center on Corporate Responsibility (ICCR) released their Statement of Principles and Recommended Corporate Practices to Promote Global Health. The document, which is endorsed by over 80 organizations, is an articulation of ICCR members’ views regarding the social responsibilities of the pharmaceutical sector to address the human right to health by promoting the access, availability, affordability, and infrastructure required to deliver life-saving medicines where they are most needed.

ICCR members are faith- and mission-based investors who have been engaging global pharmaceutical companies to redress inequities in the availability of medicines for some of the world’s most intractable and deadly diseases such as HIV/AIDS, malaria and tuberculosis. Because many ICCR members have global ministries and witness firsthand the undue disease burden borne by the poorest and most vulnerable communities, their dialogues with drug companies focus on finding new solutions to address these inequities.

 Said Sr. Barbara Aires of the Sisters of Charity of Saint Elizabeth, New Jersey, “We convened industry roundtables in 2008 and again in 2011 with leaders of the pharmaceutical industry and other key stakeholders to identify barriers and to foster the social innovations that will increase access. Because we view health care as an immutable human right, our interest is in making sure that the people most impacted by disease are at the top of the list and our principles statement outlines how we think drug companies can do their part to make that happen.”

The Medicines Patent Pool (MPP), a model that encourages the sharing of HIV/AIDS formulations to facilitate their manufacture by generics companies is a good example of a social innovation with the potential for profound global impact.  Formed in 2010 through funding from UNITAID, the MPP has been endorsed by the World Health Organization, the UN High Level Meeting on AIDS, and the Group of 8 as a promising approach to improve access to HIV medicines.

Discussing their recently announced licensing agreement with the MPP on a pediatric HIV/AIDS formulation, Dominique Limet, CEO of ViiV Healthcare said, “Our new collaborations prioritise dolutegravir access for millions of children and adults with HIV, and represent another step in our ongoing commitment to improving access and delivering innovation in the areas of highest unmet need. We recognise that dialogue and partnerships are critical to encourage political commitment to accelerating access to medicines like dolutegravir. The work of the Interfaith Center on Corporate Responsibility has been highly valued in bringing stakeholders together.”

Lauren Compere of Boston Common Asset Management said, “Boston Common commends GlaxoSmithKline and ViiV in taking a further step to advance alternative R&D models through its latest partnership with the Medicines Patent Pool.  These initiatives are essential in moving the sector towards a more sustainable business model that enhances innovation, opens access to new markets, and promotes the human right to health and best exemplify the leadership we describe in our Global Health Principles.”

Observed Cathy Rowan of CHE Trinity Health, “As this year’s World Health Day theme underscores, current pharmaceutical models fail to close gaps in the delivery of preventive medicines for neglected tropical diseases. The same holds true for other diseases like TB, AIDS and tuberculosis that are more prevalent in poorer nations. Last year the World Health Assembly approved a new initiative to find and finance the development of drugs and other health technologies for diseases that are disproportionately affecting developing countries. Our ongoing work with the drug companies we hold is to encourage them to participate in creative initiatives to increase access.”


ICCR Global Health Principles

  1. Access & Affordability: Global health business models must promote access to health for all, and be equitable and affordable, regardless of one's country or resources. 
  1. Innovative Research & Development Models: Companies must develop new models that address critical global health needs, including non-communicable diseases, HIV/TB/malaria and neglected tropical diseases that impact the most vulnerable.
  1. Ethical Business Practices: Companies must develop, implement, and monitor a  global code of conduct that incorporates responsible marketing practices, anti-bribery corruption measures, fair clinical trials, and robust oversight of supply chain management programs.
  1. Community Investment: Pharmaceutical companies working with communities, the private sector and other stakeholders must find solutions to overcome barriers to improving a country’s health system infrastructure and supply chain distribution. 
  1. Partnerships & Collaboration: Companies must increase collaboration within the pharmaceutical industryand with other stakeholdersto share knowledge and resources to develop and implement access to health initiatives.

  2. Transparency & Disclosure: Companies must increase transparency and disclosure on access strategies, health outcomes, public policy positions and lobbying activities in order to demonstrate responsible corporate citizenship and enable investors and other stakeholders to hold companies accountable.