Making Pharma Better

The Issue

The health care sector has obvious potential to contribute to sustainable development. However, in practice the pharmaceutical industry is also particularly exposed to product safety issues, as well as ethical and governance controversies including aggressive tax planning and excessive compensation. Limited access to live-saving medicines in developing countries is a barrier to social development, and abusive drug pricing in developed countries continues to make headlines. Lack of transparency about the results of clinical trials can lead to misdirection of research effort, interferes with the safe application of medicines and undermines the trust of the trial volunteers who put themselves at risk.

ESG Perspective

The social licence and long-term value of pharmaceutical companies depends on a research pipeline producing safe, innovative products that are affordable and meet healthcare needs, including in emerging markets. Trust is key: product safety concerns and questionable marketing practices can damage high-profile brands and lead to costly litigation and regulatory penalties. The outcomes of clinical trials have a significant influence on company value.

Our Response

We engage companies in dialogue on:

  • ethical business practices

  • clinical trial transparency

  • access to medicine in developing countries

  • responsible tax planning

  • linking compensation to product safety and compliance

We are signatory to the Access to Medicine Index Investor Statement and support the All-Trials campaign for clinical trials transparency.

We engage with regulators and standards-setters on health care sustainability issues.