Binghamton University professor launches web tool to track impact of drugs worldwide
BINGHAMTON, NY â€“ Billions of dollars have been spent on developing drugs and supplying them around the world, but which companiesâ€™ drugs are actually making an impact? The Global Health Impact Index, headed by Binghamton University Associate Professor Nicole Hassoun and highlighted in a new article published Friday in PLOS ONE, addresses this issue by ranking pharmaceutical companies based on their drugsâ€™ impact on global health. VIDEO: http://youtu.be/2rn5nRmyhOI
The Global Health Impact Index considers how companies drugs measure up on the basis of their impact on the â€œbig threeâ€ infectious diseases: malaria, HIV/AIDS and tuberculosis. While previous indexes have measured the need for different drugs worldwide, the Global Health Impact Index is the first to measure the actual impact of these drugs.
â€œPeople have focused on measuring the need for different drugsâ€¦but weâ€™re looking at the impact that theyâ€™re actually having,â€ said Hassoun. â€œThis is important for setting goals, evaluating performance â€” trying to have a bigger impact on global health and saving millions of lives.â€
The index looks at three things: the need for several important drugs for tuberculosis, HIV/AIDS, and malaria; the drugsâ€™ effectiveness; and the number of people who can access the drugs. Each companyâ€™s score is the sum of its drugsâ€™ impacts.
According to the index, the companies whose drugs having the most impact on the â€œbig threeâ€ diseases are:
The following companiesâ€™ drugs had the lowest drug impact scores on the index:
- Eli Lilly
- Kyorin Pharmaceutical Co.
- Bayer Healthcare
â€œWe are looking at the outcomes of the drugs that the companies hold, so the actual impact on death and disability,â€ said Hassoun. â€œWeâ€™re looking at the amount of death and disability that the companyâ€™s drugs are alleviating.â€
Hassoun hopes to motivate pharmaceutical companies to meet the health needs of impoverished people around the world through an initiative supported by Academics Stand Against Poverty (ASAP), an international professional association focused on helping poverty researchers and teachers enhance their positive impact on severe poverty.
According to Hassoun and ASAP, one third of all deaths globally, about 18 million per year, are linked to poverty, because people living in poverty cannot afford medicines and pharmaceutical companies do not have the financial incentive to develop treatments for diseases that primarily affect impoverished people.
By better understanding the impacts of companiesâ€™ products on the burden of disease, said Hassoun, researchers can have a tool for measuring impact; governments, donors, etc. can better target their efforts; and companies can be incentivized to focus on impact.
Hassounâ€™s manuscript, â€œThe Global Health Impact Index: Promoting Global Healthâ€ was published Dec. 11 in PLOS ONE.
Visit the Global Health Impact Index at http://global-health-impact.org. For more information, contact Hassoun at email@example.com.