Background and Our Rating System


doctor-prescriptionDistrust and ethics concerns pose serious challenges on how our medicines and vaccines are researched, developed, marketed, and made accessible to patients around the world. One major concern is whether drug companies and researchers are communicating all safety and efficacy information about new medicines and vaccines.

Why Is Transparency Important?

The safety and efficacy information for the medicines we use are contained in clinical trials, the human experiments largely sponsored by pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies. These trials, how they are done and their results, must be transparent and publicly available, because:

  • Prescription guidelines, medical care, and formulary decisions are based on reviews of the publicly available trial information.
  • Thousands of people participate in important industry-sponsored trials each year, believing they are helping advance medical knowledge, which is not the case if the trials are unpublished.
  • Transparency is important for building merited trust in the life sciences sector and their work: As few as 12% of Americans trust that drug companies are honest and ethical. This distrust can be a substantial barrier to patients participating in clinical trials and to patients taking their medicines.

See Scores and Data: Transparency IndexLegal Compliance Index

Our Rating System

scientists-labTo address ethics and trustworthiness concerns, we created The Good Pharma Scorecard. It measures and ranks the 20 largest pharma companies and new medicines and vaccines on key ethics, human rights & population health performance indicators. We focus on the ethical issues that impact patients the most.

In 2009, we publicly launched the Good Pharma Scorecard initiative through a multi-stakeholder roundtable, held in the New York Times Building, with former FDA commissioners, pharmaceutical executives, academics, patient groups, physicians, and ethicists. Since then, we have held 11 multi-stakeholder roundtables and industry summits and surveyed over 250 patient representatives to help define what ethics and trustworthiness mean for the healthcare innovation sector and biomedicine.

We also reviewed over 75 quality improvement initiatives to construct our index and ranking system, including the Kimberly Certification, Baldrige Award, Good Housekeeping Seal, Underwriters Laboratory Certification, AAHRPP, Ethisphere Rankings, LEED Certifications, Access to Medicines Index, Flipper Seal of Approval for canned tuna, Rainforest Alliance Accreditation, Forest Stewardship Council Certification, US News and World Report college rankings, Joint Commission for Hospital Accreditation, and fair trade labels.

See our Methods: Read the Paper

In 2012, our president and founder, Dr. Jennifer E. Miller co-organized a conference at Harvard Medical School on the subject of Global Health Rankings.


Learn More About the ConferenceGlobal Health Footprint Conference.