Statement 27 September 2015

Adoption of the sustainable development goals (SDGs)



The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) mark the start of the widest ever concerted global effort to transform our world by 2030. Reflecting the reality of an integrated world, the SDGs take a holistic and multifaceted approach, interweaving health considerations into all of the goals. The research-based pharmaceutical industry welcomes this approach and confirms its commitment to achieving the SDGs and in so doing, contribute to inclusive, equitable, economically productive and healthy societies.

The SDGs, and in particular Goal #3[1] and its targets, offer an opportunity to inject a new vision that recognizes health as a driver of global economic growth, whilst building upon the very rich heritage and achievements of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), where we, as a global health partner, helped bring about successful health outcomes such as increased antiretroviral access to HIV patients and significant progress on decreasing child mortality.

However, there remains much work to be done. To achieve healthy lives at all ages, health systems should focus on long-term sustainable frameworks to prevent and manage infectious-, chronic-, and injury-related conditions. Achieving healthy lives at all ages requires the commitment to embed health within all policy areas, recognizing that the choices we make in many fields from the environment to transportation to education will ultimately impact well-being. It also requires a parallel commitment to foster an innovative eco-system in life sciences that will continue to enable the research, development and scientific partnerships that lead to new, patient-centered medical interventions and health services.

Sitting at the core of Goal #3 lays the powerful concept of Universal Health Coverage (UHC), of which the research-based pharmaceutical industry is a strong advocate[2]. Fulfilling the vision of UHC will require investing in health systems strengthening, including resilience to health emergencies, provision of integrated care and services, and a focus on prevention of chronic and injury-related conditions. UHC is possible through broader health care innovation across the public and private sectors that enables access and improves quality, while at the same time being flexible to generate tailored and country-owned solutions. UHC is the result of a concerted approach involving coordination of policies at government level, financing solutions, private sector involvement, and innovation.

The research-based pharmaceutical industry interprets the vision of the SDGs implementation as one that involves all relevant stakeholders, including academia, civil society, and the private sector from the onset. Indeed, the MDGs taught governments, businesses and civil society how to work together. Lessons learned and applied since 2000 show how crucial partnerships are in facilitating the architecture of many interventions on extreme poverty, education, gender equality, and sustainability and we are pleased that this has been captured, for the next 15 years, in Goal #17[3]. Multiple sectors should continue to join forces to strengthen healthcare systems, identify sustainable financing mechanisms, and reduce the add-on costs of health products and services along the supply chain.

Partnerships in the health sector are by no means a new phenomenon and should be further encouraged and developed while the global health community moves along the road to 2030. There are currently more than 250 health partnerships in which our industry is involved. These bring together different actors to improve the lives of people suffering from diseases such as HIV/AIDS, malaria and tuberculosis, non-communicable diseases (NCDs) and neglected tropical diseases (NTDs), as well as cross-cutting challenges like women and children’s health.

The research-based pharmaceutical industry is just one player in the health community. Inspired by the breadth and ambition of the SDGs, we stand ready to continue working together in existing partnerships and to build new collaborations in an effort to ensure that the SDGs are translated from aspiration to action, and that we build a future that we can be genuinely proud of.

[1] SDGs, Goal 3: “Ensure healthy lives and promote well-being for all at all ages”

[2] Link to Principles and to Infographic

[3] SDGs, Goal 17: “Strengthen the means of implementation and revitalize the global partnership for sustainable development”



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

Learn more

Media Contact

Elliot Dunster