Press release 26 May 2012

Research-based pharmaceutical industry welcomes progress on key global health issues at World Health Assembly



  • International Federation of Pharmaceutical Manufacturers & Associations contributes to discussions during World Health Assembly
  • Key issues include coordination of research and development for diseases of the developing world, vaccines, fake medicines, and neglected tropical diseases

As one of the 189 nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) in official relations with the World Health Organization (WHO), the International Federation of Pharmaceutical Manufacturers & Associations (IFPMA) contributed to discussions at the 65 th World Health Assembly (WHA). The IFPMA followed with particular interest discussions and decisions made by Member States related to R&D for diseases of the developing world, the Global Vaccine Action Plan, fake medicines, neglected tropical diseases, and others. In line with the WHO principles governing relations with NGOs, the IFPMA contributed expert commentary to these important global health discussions.

Coordination of financing for research and development (R&D) – IFPMA commends the comprehensive and important work of the Consultative Expert Working Group (CEWG) to explore ways to finance R&D for diseases endemic in developing countries. The research-based pharmaceutical industry’s R&D programs for these diseases have increased significantly in recent years, mostly involving collaborative approaches. The CEWG’s report adds significantly to discussions on increased sustainable funding and coordination of R&D for these diseases and IFPMA commends their work.

Discussions on new instruments and initiatives to achieve the above goals should take into account the complexity and ongoing evolution of the pharmaceutical innovation paradigm and the need for prioritization, effectiveness, and sustainability.

Full IFPMA statement on R&D for diseases of the developing world

Global Vaccines Action Plan – The WHA approved the Global Vaccine Action Plan (GVAP), an important milestone for the Decade of Vaccine (DoV) initiative. Lauding the GVAP as an ambitious strategy to achieve immunization goals, IFPMA believes the GVAP can be instrumental in realizing the DoV goal of extending the full benefits of immunization to all people.

Suggested efforts to refine the plan include clarifying interactions with other global vaccine programs and partnerships; prioritizing objectives and identifying opportunities for synergies; and defining human and financial resource needs and funding sources. Equitable and sustained access to and use of high quality, safe and effective vaccines can be enhanced through well-functioning competitive market dynamics that reward innovation and strive for sustainable investments and collaboration.

As a global health partner, IFPMA strongly supports the vision of the DoV and seeks to bring decades of vaccine experience to making GVAP a reality. IFPMA is ready to contribute to a country-led, broad-based and collective approach, and to work with mutually-accountable partners to achieve the GVAP goals.

Full IFPMA statement on Global Vaccine Action Plan

Fake medicines – The WHA considered the report on substandard/spurious/falsely labelled/falsified/counterfeit (SSFFC) medical products and the IFPMA welcomed the Member States’ decision to develop a long-term platform for international collaboration that puts patient safety at its core. Fake medicines are a crime against patients. At best, fake medicines cheat people of needed therapeutic benefit; at worst, they can kill or foster drug resistance. With documented cases in at least 124 countries and in every major therapeutic category, IFPMA believes the time has come for decisive, multi-stakeholder, multi-disciplinary actions at the local and the global levels. IFPMA encourages governments and other stakeholders to develop public education and awareness programs. As a partner in global health, the research-based pharmaceutical industry will participate as a solutions partners and share pharmaceutical expertise.

IFPMA statement on fake medicines

Neglected tropical diseases (NTDs) – IFPMA supports ongoing WHA talks to eliminate schistosomiasis, an NTD affecting more than 220 million people worldwide. With a long-standing commitment to fighting NTDs, the research-based pharmaceutical industry conducts more than 90 R&D programs and works to increase access to treatments. In January, 2012, IFPMA announced a major industry commitment to donate 14 billion treatments to control or eliminate nine major NTDs, including schistosomiasis, responsible for the 90% of the global NTD burden.

As part of the January NTD commitment by the industry, Merck KGaA announced a major increase of its donations of praziquantel tablets. These pledges will help meet the WHO goals for schistosomiasis by 2020.

Beyond donations, our industry engagement is the second largest funder of R&D for neglected diseases.

Full IFPMA statement on schistosomiasis

Geneva, 26 May 2012


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