Global Citizenship

Our Priorities Enhancing Access

Expanding access to health care for patients around the world is a key component of Abbott’s citizenship commitment, and it is integral to our core business strategy. We work to help expand access by:

  • Addressing national health challenges
  • Contributing our expertise in nutrition science
  • Reaching out to patients, families and health care professionals
  • Improving health care infrastructure and technology

To be effective, our efforts to expand health care access must confront numerous critical, worldwide challenges, including lack of information and awareness, lack of infrastructure, limited affordability and social stigmas surrounding certain diseases and conditions. The first of these problems – lack of awareness or current information about key disease states – often exists among patients and health care providers alike.

Health care practitioners in developing nations often lack access to the latest information about chronic diseases such as diabetes, cancer, central nervous system disorders and heart disease, which are increasingly prevalent in the developing world. In China, for example, more than 40 million people have diabetes, and an additional 20 million suffer impaired glucose tolerance. Similarly, in India, more than 118 million patients have hypertension. The incidence of such diseases, once prevalent mainly in developed nations, is bound to intensify as more people in developing nations adopt Western-style diets and sedentary habits.

Factors That Play a Role in Increasing Access


Abbott works to break down the barriers that prevent many people worldwide from accessing the medicine and health care that they need.

Much of the world also lacks basic health care infrastructure, with critical shortages of professionals trained in modern diagnosis and treatment protocols, as well as insufficient size and scope of facilities for patient care. Poor sanitation constitutes another major health care hurdle, as does inadequate transportation. Additionally, the social stigmas that may accompany certain diseases often interfere with proper diagnosis and treatment.

Health care affordability is especially complex. The proportion of health care costs borne by individuals, governments and employers varies substantially among countries. Moreover, the global economic downturn has made it all the more difficult for many governments to fund a broad range of social programs, including education, poverty alleviation, and health care and elder care initiatives.

Despite such challenges, Abbott is successfully boosting access to a wide range of health care services and health care products, working in partnership with numerous government agencies, health care professional societies, non-governmental organizations and other key stakeholders. Working in close collaboration with these partners, we continue to make progress in expanding global health care infrastructure and capacity; increasing the quality and frequency of health care practitioner training; and educating patients about disease management and treatment options. We work with stakeholders around the world to teach health care providers and patients about the best use of our products, and we strive to design and implement pricing strategies that maximize access to needed health care products in each country while enabling us to operate our businesses in a sustainable manner.

Note: All data reflects Abbott activities in 2012. Some content has been adjusted to remove data specific to AbbVie, which became a separate company on Jan. 1, 2013.