Expert insight

Global health progress – The Guardian article series

20 May 2020

Through IFPMA’s partnership with The Guardian, informed conversations about the state of global health progress in various areas were carried out with the help of experts, including academia, international actors and industry. The following series presents articles published in The Guardian Labs:

The value of medicine in achieving global health progress

This was first published on 15 October 2019.

Progress in medical care had yielded great advances in patient outcomes with regards to longevity and quality of life. This has been achieved due to a partnership between the private sector, the government and the research community. The increased commitment to drive collaborations and share knowledge within the biopharma industry has accelerated innovations. IFPMA members are currently engaged in over 200 collaborative projects to tackle global health challenges. Read more here.

Access Accelerated: a new collaborative approach to help countries address

This was first published on 15 October 2019.

A primary importance for the biopharmaceutical industry is to continue to expand the Access Accelerated model by working collaboratively with country governments. By championing the rights of people living with NCDs, shaping strategies, priorities and measuring results can be achieved with the involvement of civil society. IFPMA and its partners must remain committed to the shared goals of expanding access to care and improving population health. Read more here.

Unlocking Africa’s health innovation potential

This was first published on 15 October 2019.

African-led innovation in drug discovery is lower than other continents, addressing barriers that hinder innovation is the responsibility of the government. The government play a key role in ensuring that predictability in clinical trials’ approval process is achieved. Read more here.

Today’s incentives for tomorrow’s cures in India

This was first published on 15 October 2019.

As most countries face ‘imminent global health crises’, a functional and reliable UHC is an elusive goal. Innovation and incentives are needed to address these challenges such as cancer and Alzheimer’s. The stimulus for R&D investments and legal protection of the outcomes of this exorbitant task will facilitate the development of a new class of medicines to secure the future health of citizens globally. Read more here.

Drugs by drone and mother mentors: how health services across the globe are being transformed

This article was first published in the Guardian Labs on 28 November 2019 by Emma Sheppard.

Technological innovations and digital health initiatives have the potential to improve access and quality of healthcare in countries around the world. Investment in and the expansion of digital health services in low- and middle-income countries therefore holds the potential to avoid millions of deaths. But challenges remain in making digital health solutions a reality for every developing nation. IFPMA’s members are therefore involved in several digital health initiatives and projects around the world. Read more here.

Why it makes financial sense to achieve global universal healthcare by 2030

This article was first published in the Guardian Labs on 28 November 2019 by Mark Hillsdon.

The UHC2030 movement aims to ensure everyone in the world gets the healthcare they need without suffering financial hardship. To achieve this, national governments and NGOs need to embrace innovative funding models. Fumie Griego, Deputy Director General of IFPMA argues that no one-size fits all solution to funding health care exists. UHC requires innovation and collaboration among all relevant sectors of society as well as convincing governments that health is an investment which accelerates development. Read more here.

From falsified medicines to storage mishaps: the fragile state of drug supply chains

This article was first published in the Guardian Labs on 28 November 2019 by Duncan Jefferies.

The increasingly complex production and distribution of medicines can have a big impact on people’s health in low-income countries. The journey of a drug from manufacturer to patient is rife with challenges that need to be carefully managed. So how can we ensure the right drugs reach those in need on time, while preventing falsified and substandard medicines entering the supply chain? This problem is especially prevalent in countries where oversight and enforcement are weak or legitimate drugs are in short supply. IFPMA therefore recommends several approaches and practices to tackle this issue. Read more here.

Global health challenges: how innovative collaboration is key to tackling diseases

This article was first published in the Guardian Labs on 30 January 2020 by Mark Hillsdon.

Partnerships across pharma, academia, business and tech are the way forward to develop effective treatments for everything from TB to tropical diseases. With new technologies on the horizon, it is important to ensure they will reach the patients as quickly as possible. WIPO Re:Search is one of the initiatives bringing together several drug companies to catalyse the development of new medicines. But the main challenge lies in forging cross-sector collaborations which makes intellectual property available to the researchers that need it. Read more here.

Q&A: Thoko Elphick-Pooley, director of the Uniting to Combat NTDs secretariat

This article was first published in the Guardian on 3 February 2020.

Neglected tropical diseases (NTDs) affect the world’s poorest, most marginalised and most remote communities. They are a group of treatable and preventable diseases that are a consequence and cause of poverty. Thoko Elphick-Pooley, director of Uniting to Combat Neglected Tropical Diseases secretariat offers her thoughts on how to tackle diseases that blight the world’s poorest communities. Read more here.

Global health policy: can we manage the ever-increasing rise of diabetes?

This article was first published in the Guardian on 6 April 2020 by Mark Hillsdon. 

More than 400 million people have diabetes and the pharmaceutical industry is ramping up efforts to tackle it through Global Health Progress. While the condition can be treated effectively in the west, in low-income countries there is a need to improve access to insulin, medical devices, and health programmes to ensure early diagnosis and care. Read more here

Sharing the load: how regulatory cooperation improves global access to medicines

This article was first published in the Guardian Labs on 12 May 2020 by Duncan Jefferies.

Access to supplies of essential medicines is often compromised and delayed when national regulators don’t have the resources to regulate medicinal products in line with high global standards of quality, safety and efficacy. As a result, patients may suffer or die from diseases that are treatable with the right drugs. The lack of effective regulatory market surveillance also feeds the market for substandard and falsified products. Therefore, national regulators must rely on each other to manage an increasingly complex global environment. Read more here

‘This is the next frontier in scientific innovation’: how the Gavi Alliance is helping to immunise the world

This article was first published in the Guardian Labs on 12 May 2020 by Mark Hillsdon.

As the COVID-19 pandemic heightens the importance of developing vaccines for preventable diseases, the work of the Gavi Alliance remains as vital as ever. The innovative public-private partnership model on which Gavi is built has helped to protect over 700 million children in 58 of the world’s poorest countries. At its third Gavi replenishment, it hopes to gather $7.4bn in funding to continue its activities during the next five years. Read more here

Will the Convention on Biodiversity hinder the sharing of the genetic codes of pathogens – like coronavirus?

This article was first published in the Guardian Labs on 19 June 2019 by Mark Hillsdon.

To develop vaccines and prepare for global epidemics, scientists need continuous access to pathogens. But their inclusion within the Nagoya protocol is creating barriers that could have huge implications for global health. Compromise will be necessary to continue ongoing and future R&D efforts to prevent and tackle potential epidemics and pandemics. Read more here.