Statement 30 November 2016

2016 IFPMA General Assembly-Welcome remarks by Eduardo Pisani


Committed to a Healthier Future
2016 IFPMA General Assembly
30 November 2016

Welcome remarks by Eduardo Pisani
Director General

Good morning and welcome to the 28th IFPMA assembly.

The biopharmaceutical industry is committed to a healthier future for the people around the world, and this is the theme we have chosen for our assembly.

Many of us have invested considerable effort to this – whether it be partnerships to improve health systems and access, or R&D for neglected diseases and responding to emergencies such as Ebola or antimicrobial resistance.

And the world is witness to the fact that never have people lived longer and never have so many children been saved from dying in the first years of life. While much of this progress is due to better sanitation and improved access to medical services, medicines and vaccines have extended and improved the quality of life for millions of people.

But at the source of this profound change for the better across so many countries is the immense contribution that innovation has made with medicines and vaccines springing from the dedicated work of biopharmaceutical scientists, which created a legacy from which we all benefit. And their genius continues unabated – with new treatments where none existed, cures where before we could only hope at best to treat.

Let’s not lose sight of the fact that innovation is not for the fainted heart. It’s a long-term investment – not only for ourselves but for also future generations. New medicines save and change lives, they improve a population’s health, as well as its socio-economic development.

However improving public health is a collaborative and increasingly political process, requiring solutions that go way beyond medicines and vaccines. Everybody needs good sanitation and clean air. People need primary care and the means to pay for it. They need roads and supply systems so that medicines and vaccines can reach them wherever they live; year in, year out. Patients need well-trained doctors and nurses. Hospitals require functioning equipment, lights and electricity so that mothers can bring children safely into this world.

Our industry is one part of the solution to address global health challenges, and we have a crucial role to play. We are committed to improving people’s lives and we intend to engage with the health community (and beyond) and help find answers and take action to overcome the challenges.

Our distinguished panelists are all key actors in the global health community. They will focus on some of the challenges and explore some of the opportunities that lie ahead of us to ensure viable use of innovative medicines in the next decade and beyond.

As many of you know, our assembly is held every second year, and this is my 4th one – and my last in my current capacity of DG.

Before introducing the IFPMA President, I hope you will indulge me and let me take a few moments to thank the IFPMA team for the work undertaken to prepare today’s assembly and moreover for the work carried out over the years to advance policies and programs that promote biopharmaceutical innovation and access to medicines and vaccines.

My sincere gratitude goes also to the President and Vice-Presidents of the IFPMA for their support and guidance to the organization and to me in particular.

And now let me introduce and welcome Dr. Stefan Oschmann.


The International Federation of Pharmaceutical Manufacturers and Associations (IFPMA) represents over 90 innovative pharmaceutical companies and associations around the world. Our industry’s almost three million employees discover, develop, and deliver medicines and vaccines that advance global health. Based in Geneva, IFPMA has official relations with the United Nations and contributes industry expertise to help the global health community improve the lives of people everywhere. For more information, visit

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