A set of corporate social responsibility benchmarks for pharmaceutical companies could become a reality following a joint Oxfam, Save the Children and VSO report.
The three charities are working with investors and pharmaceutical companies to get a consensus on what degree of transparency is "reasonable
from pharmaceutical companies in the areas of pricing, patents, public-private initiatives, research and development and appropriate use of medicines.
Information on these areas could then be used for benchmarking, enabling investors and the general public to judge the impact that pharmaceutical companies are having on the developing world.
A round-table discussion of different stakeholders is planned for this autumn to launch the process, following the publication of the report Beyond Philanthropy: the pharmaceutical industry, corporate social responsibility and the developing world.
Ethical investors currently ask for no information on these areas from pharmaceutical companies, but the three charities hope that this will change as a result of the report, said Jo Nickolls, private-sector policy adviser at Oxfam.