Responsible drug pricing in public health

The issue of responsible drug pricing to ensure public heath was in the spotlight in 2021 as the treatments and vaccines for Covid-19 became available following regulatory approval.  

BMO engaged with companies working on Covid-19 treatments and vaccines, leading or co-leading the engagement with AstraZeneca, GSK and Endo International. They worked as part of two collaborative engagement initiatives – one co-ordinated by Achmea Investment Management and the other by the IOPA (Investors for Opioid & Pharmaceutical Accountability) – focusing on responsible business practices during the pandemic. BMO broadened their engagement with pharmaceutical companies to encompass access to medicine more generally, rather than just focusing on Covid-19, using the findings the Access to Medicine Foundation’s 2021 Access to Medicine Index. In total, BMO engaged with 17 companies on 29 separate occasions. 

The results of BMO’s discussions were the subject of their thought leadership publication on the pharmaceutical industry’s response to Covid-19 and a published article (“Pioneer Perspective”) on pharmaceutical companies’ management of health and healthcare access inequalities. During 2021 AstraZeneca, Johnson & Johnson and Pfizer have taken action to ensure more equitable access to their respective Covid-19 vaccines. Pharmaceutical companies are taking robust action to protect and support employees and mitigate supply chain risks to maintain access to their products. Overall, pharmaceutical companies continue to improve different elements of their access strategies, and the number of companies developing a systematic approach to access planning has significantly increased.