Press release 4 May 2020

Pharma Joins Global Pledge Committing to Work Together to Beat COVID-19

Press release

Geneva, 4 May, 2020: The world’s leading biopharmaceutical companies today reaffirmed the industry’s commitment to join forces to ensure that its breadth of expertise in therapeutics (research, clinical development, manufacturing) is shared across the scientific community as part of the global fight against COVID-19. Today, the industry recommitted at the Coronavirus Global Response Pledging Marathon, to channel its innovation, mobilize its knowhow, pool its expertise and share its manufacturing capacity to help deliver what could amount to billions of new vaccines to stop the spread of pandemic and the many different types of therapeutics needed to alleviate the symptoms of people who have contracted the virus.

As a Founding Partner of the recently launched landmark global partnership Access to COVID-19 Tools (act) Accelerator, the biopharmaceutical industry body, IFPMA, will bring to the table the innovative industry’s unique expertise to find and scale up solutions for preventing and treating the COVID-19 virus. Industry is committed to working with governments and partners to make treatments and vaccines available and affordable for the patients that need them – wherever and whoever they may be.

In his statement of commitment to the pledge, David Ricks, President of IFPMA and CEO of Eli Lilly & Co, said: “Never before has the biopharmaceutical industry moved as quickly and decisively to channel our innovation and mobilize our knowhow in response to this pandemic. We are driven by a deep sense of responsibility towards patients and society as a whole”.

The biopharmaceutical industry is not starting from scratch as there are many scientific breakthroughs that we are building on” reassures Ricks. In his delivered message, he explains: “Whether for vaccines or treatments, our companies have diverted considerable resources and brought together our best people to accelerate the development of new treatments and vaccines to contain COVID-19. We are collaborating widely to ensure that our expertise is shared across the scientific community as part of the global fight against this devastating virus”.

Today, the R&D biopharmaceutical industry is involved in more than 25 clinical trials, assessing over 130 therapeutics, undertaking 13 different programs to speed up the development of safe and effective vaccines to prevent COVID-19 in partnership with others. There are also currently, eleven programs underway to increase the biopharmaceutical industry’s manufacturing capabilities and share available capacity to ramp up production once a successful vaccine or treatment is developed. In addition to dedicating considerable resources to these endeavors, without any guarantees of success, the biopharmaceutical industry is providing financial support and in-kind donations to communities and collaborating with national and global health authorities to combat this worldwide public health emergency. To date, IFPMA member companies have given over $700 million in monetary donations, as well as critical medical supplies worth at least $40m to support patients and governments in addressing this evolving crisis.

Thomas Cueni, Director General of the International Federation of Pharmaceutical Manufacturers & Associations (IFPMA): “Many of the most promising treatments that originate from the laboratories of the R&D biopharmaceutical industry are the product of a thriving and invaluable, innovative biopharmaceutical ecosystem. We recognize the scale of the COVID-19 crisis will require a novel modus operandi, built on partnership in the public interest. We are working on an equal footing and shared basis with other interested bodies across the board to find solutions so that safe and effective treatments can be accessible for all those in need – wherever and whoever they may be”.

Cueni concludes: “Today’s marathon pledge gives a very important signal it is not only about developing vaccines, therapeutics and diagnostics, it’s also about a global commitment to effective international cooperation to ensure that the tough decisions are taken together, with all of those who holding the keys sitting at the same table. Only in this way, will we ensure that no one is left behind in the race to end COVID-19”.


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