Statement 8 September 2010

Maternal health MDG to WHO South East Asia region meeting


63rd WHO Regional Committee for South East Asia

IFPMA Statement under agenda item 14, “Accelerating the achievement of MDG5: addressing inequity in maternal and neonatal health”.

Delivered by Mr. Mario Ottiglio, Associate Director, Public Affairs & Global Health

On behalf of the International Federation of Pharmaceutical Manufacturers and Associations (IFPMA), I would like to thank you for the opportunity to contribute to this discussion and explain our sector’s contributions to the achievement of the MDGs. Mr. Chairman, first and foremost, we reaffirm the innovative pharmaceutical industry’s commitment to help achieve the MDGs, especially 4, 5, 6 and 8.

The factors that create the current, unsatisfactory state of health for many people living in the poorest countries are complex. While Governments have the primary responsibility to improve global health, the innovative pharmaceutical industry plays a unique role: researching developing, and marketing innovative, safe and effective medicines. Moreover, in the developing countries, the industry works to reduce mortality and morbidity through multi-stakeholder dialogue and philanthropic partnerships, on a not-for-profit or reduced profit basis, recognizing that commercial organizations are those who operate to meet the needs of all stakeholders.

Women’s health is a critical topic. Many women in developing countries find it difficult to access the health care services and medicines that others in richer countries take for granted, and that have helped them to enjoy longer and more productive lives.

From the inception of the MDGs in 2000 up to the end of 2007, IFPMA member companies made available nearly USD 10 billion-worth of health assistance for access and capacity building in developing countries covering a wide range of health challenges. As the latest IFPMA Health Partnerships Directory shows, our companies help to redress uneven access to basic services and medicines by supporting a large number of philanthropic or not-for-profit programs to improve health in developing countries. The current edition documents 213 programs, a five-fold increase if compared to the number first recorded in 2003. These programs register a major and growing commitment to help achieve the MDGs and other important global health goals. A substantial number of these programs focuses on women’s health and there has been a significant growth in the number of these programs over the last four years. To further confirm the commitment of our members in this region, our members run programs in the vast majority of this region, with India being the third largest beneficiary of industry philanthropic programs worldwide, with 45 programs active in the country at the start of 2010. Moreover, IFPMA Members represent collectively the third largest funder of R&D for diseases of the developing world and, increasingly, companies share their compound libraries and scientific acumen with research partners, including those in developing countries.

A combination of targeted and inexpensive basic health interventions would have a dramatically positive impact on advancing on the health-related MDGs, including number 5.  These include better nutrition for mothers and children; mass vaccination campaigns, access to basic antibiotics and programs to prevent the spread of HIV/AIDS and other sexually transmitted diseases. We also need to improve essential care for all mothers and babies to improve maternal and women’s health. 57% of our programs have an element of capacity building which is key to addressing women’s health challenges. The industry has worked for decades to help disaggregate data on women’s health and to work towards gender parity in access.

Building on the foundations of MDG actions to date, we do need to make clear priorities, recognizing that no single stakeholder can do everything alone. We shall continue to provide to the global community, products from our research and development, access initiatives to enable uptake of these, as well as technical and scientific capacity-building and educational programs. Success for the innovative pharmaceutical industry is built on long-term, high risk investment that delivers medicines to patients worldwide. It’s a challenging and long process, but we make it work and we will continue to do so. Achieving the MDGs requires the same dedication and commitment. Our partners can count on our dedication to improving global health today, and in the future.

Bangkok, Thailand, 8 September 2010


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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