Statement 8 December 2015

IFPMA statement on climate change and health



The driving motivation of the pharmaceutical industry is to improve human health and well-being.

Climate change will challenge the global community in its efforts to tackle health concerns and inequalities across the world. It can have consequences both for people living today, especially the poorest and most vulnerable, and for future generations. It is a central issue in the recently adopted United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), which called for strong action to integrate climate change measures into national policy.

A recent Lancet report[1] highlighted links between climate change and health. Climate change affects water- and vector-borne diseases and conditions like diarrheal diseases, malnutrition, malaria and dengue are highly climate-sensitive. High temperatures also raise the levels of ozone and other pollutants in the air, leading to a potential increase of cardiovascular and respiratory conditions.

The pharmaceutical industry is seeking collaborative approaches in response to these challenges. We know that many of the actions we may need to take require transformational change. We are ready to play our part.

We are making important progress in tackling some of the key diseases that are likely to be impacted either directly or indirectly by climate change. Our industry contributes to the fight against diseases through cutting-edge research and development (R&D) for medicines and vaccines, access programmes, and focused capacity-building efforts aiming at strengthening infrastructures, training local communities and increasing awareness of prevention and control of these diseases.

In addition, we are working to reduce our own direct carbon impacts, as well as working with suppliers, customers and others to reduce carbon impacts across our value chain. Actions like reducing greenhouse gas emissions and waste streams, pursuing energy efficiencies, optimizing water use and engaging employees in undertaking greener practices are all being taken forward.

The Paris climate negotiations present an opportunity to help advance this important dialogue.

Partnership and co-ordination will then be essential if we are to make the individual and collective changes so urgently needed. Post COP 21, we wish to join other key stakeholders – governments, business and civil society – in a dialogue around innovation, research and other actions we can individually and collectively take to reduce the impact of climate change on health.

[1] The Lancet, Health and climate change: policy responses to protect public health,



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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Elliot Dunster