Statement 9 September 2019

Industry and Stakeholders reaffirm their commitment to ensuring ethics and integrity across health systems


GENEVA, 10 SEPTEMBER 2019: IFPMA is proud to be a key partner of the Business Ethics for APEC SMEs initiative, the largest public-private partnership of its kind in the world with participation from more than 1,250 organizations across all 21 APEC member economies all working towards achieving ethics and integrity in the service of patients and people. Chile becomes the ninth economy in the APEC region to have government, healthcare providers, patients, and industry formally committing to join together at a national level to improve ethics and integrity through adoption of a “Consensus Framework”.

As a result of our continued partnership and collaborative efforts governments, healthcare providers, patients, and industry, 56 associations in the region now have adopted and implemented high-standard industry codes of ethics, which ensure that practices in our industry are governed by ethical standards in line with societal expectations.   These codes of conduct now reach almost 10,000 companies, of which over 6,000 are small and medium size enterprises (SMEs).

However, IFPMA notes that 15 associations in the region still do not have a code, preventing APEC from reaching its goal of universal code adoption.   Economy-specific surveys, such as the first-ever survey conducted in China, also point to opportunities – for example to increase understanding of business ethics concepts and support adoption of ethical guidelines.

The Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) is a regional economic forum whose members aim to create greater prosperity for the people of the region by accelerating regional economic integration. IFPMA Director-General Thomas Cueni serves as the initiative’s Industry Co-Chair of the APEC Biopharmaceutical Working Group on Ethics and participated in the 2019 APEC Business Ethics for SMEs Forum held on 9- 10 September 2019 in Santiago, Chile.

Speaking on the occasion, Mr Cueni said that ‘The innovative biopharmaceutical industry is unlike any other – our products can prolong and save lives. We therefore hold ourselves to higher ethical standards than other industries. We owe it to the patients who rely on our medicines and vaccines.” Adding that trust is the basis of reputation and essential for innovation, IFPMA remains committed to the establishment and promotion of ethical principles for the industry as a whole, and to partnering with organizations such as APEC to ensure that we all adapt to societal expectations of ever higher standards.

IFPMA welcomes APEC exploring strategies for governments to encourage ethical business conduct.  By offering multiple pathways for adherence to a code of ethical practices, such as through enforcement but also procurement and regulatory incentives, governments can prevent unethical business conduct. IFPMA remains engaged in APEC’s capacity building objectives.  IFPMA helped to develop an APEC SME “Leaders in Ethics and Integrity Program”, which was unveiled at the Forum.  Called “LEIP” this program is built for the unique needs of SME founders and executives who are looking to jump ahead of the curve and is expected to begin with two pilot programmes.


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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Media Contact

Elliot Dunster