Statement 12 February 2020

IFPMA and WHO Global Research and Innovation Forum


IFPMA and WHO Global Research and Innovation Forum

IFPMA as the body representing the innovator biopharmaceutical industry in official relations with the UN, together with a number of its member companies were invited to the WHO Global Research and Innovation Forum on COVID-19 which took place on 11 and 12 February 2020 in Geneva.

IFPMA views on the meeting and the roadmap going forwards:

Geneva, 12 February 2020 – Global health security, and the public health emergency that COVID-19 represents, is everyone’s responsibility, it requires solidarity, collaboration, and innovative efforts from various stakeholders – i.e. industry, academia, regulators, governments, and WHO, to harness the power of science.

Innovative biopharmaceutical member companies of IFPMA are ready to help and are taking practical steps to see where it makes the most sense to engage. Those companies with potentially relevant knowhow have teams of scientists checking their libraries of potential assets that could fight coronaviruses. Our priority as industry is to help develop countermeasures, be it vaccines, therapies, or diagnostics, and if and when successful, make them immediately available to those in need.

Having a delegation present the WHO consultation these past two days has been helpful in that regard.

The WHO should be congratulated for managing to mobilize so many of the key players whose experience will be critical to stem the spread of the COVID-19 epidemic.

The very collegiate and science-focused manner in which the consultation took place bodes well for further the collaboration and positive engagement needed across the board if we are going to use the science at our disposal to minimise the public health impact of COVID-19 and potentially further coronavirus outbreaks.

The industry is fully supportive of efforts that will ensure the scientific community can respond quickly to the challenges this epidemic presents. The Forum resulted in many commendable ideas. Congratulations to WHO for getting so many stakeholders together at short notice. We would however comment that pragmatic implementation of the forthcoming WHO Roadmap is critical moving forward.

Going forwards, it will be crucial that the WHO continue to involve researchers, government, industry and coordinate efforts to help make informed decisions on how best to prioritize and collaborate on a shared research agenda for this virus. Speed and coordination, evidence-based response, involvement of those who already have the knowledge and expertise (in particular scientists on the front line in China), avoiding duplication, are all going to be paramount to ensure that lives will be saved and the spread of virus would stemmed and if possible be stopped.

The longer term research agenda should not detract taking the necessary immediate steps to contain the COVID-19 outbreak and support first-line responders while vaccines are being developed & therapeutics are researched. This includes streamlining the use of existing networks to improve response, such as Global Initiative on Sharing All Influenza Data / GISAID Initiative, sharing data & clinical trials outcomes.

The above can be attributed to Thomas Cueni, Director General of the International Federation of Pharmaceutical Manufacturers and Associations (IFPMA)

Other statements by IFPMA on COVID-19

IFPMA Members involvement in countering the novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV)

IFPMA Members involvement in countering the novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV)

For further information, please contact:

Abigail Jones

+32 475 41 09 76


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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