Pharma industry contributions to third meeting of the Intergovernmental Negotiating Body (INB)
During the World Health Organization (WHO) Third Meeting of the Intergovernmental Negotiating Body (INB3) which took place from 5 to 7 December 2022, IFPMA, the body in official relations with the United Nations, delivered four messages. The text below is a summary of the points that were delivered.
The innovative pharmaceutical industry appreciates having the opportunity to engage constructively with the INB and thanks the Bureau for its efforts in developing the Conceptual Zero Draft.
As the INB progresses its work, it is essential to ensure that it builds on the successes of the R&D ecosystem spearheaded by the private sector and does not undermine the foundations of innovation that public and private research depends on – like intellectual property and rapid pathogen sharing – that were key enablers of the rapid response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The industry has expressed our commitment to equitable access. We have tabled a proposal to reserve an allocation of real-time production of vaccines, treatments and diagnostics for priority populations in lower-income countries and take measures to make them available and affordable – proposed in the Berlin Declaration. We remain committed to working together with the INB to integrate practical, voluntary collaborative models to improve equitable access.
Although the conceptual zero draft represents a key starting point for initial discussions, taken as-is, it lacks overall coherence. At this stage, it would undermine rather than facilitate our collective ability to rapidly develop and scale up counter measures and ensure its equitable access.
We urge the INB to course-correct and develop a Zero Draft that builds on the lessons learned from this pandemic. The Zero Draft should preserve what has worked well, rectify where we need to do better, and be fit-for-purpose for all. Overall, the measures proposed should be pragmatic, agile, non-bureaucratic and complementary with existing processes, mechanisms and initiatives and moreover, based on evidence.
There is no evidence to support many of the policy tools proposed by the Conceptual Zero Draft. For instance, there is no evidence that full cost or price transparency leads to better health outcomes. Time-bound waivers of protection of intellectual property rights would not increase the manufacturing of pandemic response products. Conditionalities on public sector funded research including on technology transfer, costs of production and pricing may slow down time-critical innovation. Measures to limit indemnity or confidentiality clauses can derail or delay supply.
The role of trade as a cornerstone of equitable access and global health security more generally is also noticeably absent from the Conceptual Zero Draft. Governments should commit to unrestricted trade – including no export bans – and facilitate expedited processes for import and export during a pandemic for faster and more efficient global production and distribution.
To facilitate coherence, we emphasize the need to ensure that the WHO Accord is focused on clear objectives that are in scope. Aligned with the principles of the INB, we agree that inclusive, multi-sectoral actions should be integrated within the Accord. This is the only viable solution to managing pandemic crises.
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 ifpma.org.Learn more
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