Statement 17 March 2023

Statement at the Human Rights Council 52 Regular Session: Interactive dialogue on access to COVID-19 vaccines


On 17 March, IFPMA delivered a statement at the 52 Regular Session of the Human Rights Council (HRC) for the Interactive Dialogue with the Human Rights Commissioner on the report on Access to COVID-19 Vaccines.

The International Federation of Pharmaceutical Manufacturers & Associations (IFPMA) thanks the High Commissioner for his work on the report.

IFPMA is concerned that various points of the report would not lead to a better pandemic response. For instance, weakening IP would undermine the innovation ecosystem, which was critical for the record speed development and scaling up of medical countermeasures, thanks to the over 400 voluntary licensing agreements.

As recognized in the report, the global supply of COVID-19 vaccines was already abundant in 2021. However, still in 2023, lack of country readiness and absorption capacity leave highest risk populations in many countries vulnerable. Proposals that base the rewards for R&D on cost-recovery do not account for the the high likelihood of failure, eliminate commercial efficiency drivers in the production of medicines, and fail to acknowledge the various companies’ efforts to donate and provide vaccines at cost in low-resource settings during the pandemic.

Achieving equity requires actions from all stakeholders. In the 2022 Berlin Declaration, the industry proposes to reserve an allocation of real-time production for distribution to priority populations in lower income countries, as determined by health authorities during pandemics. The success of this proposal needs to be underpinned by sustained political support to country readiness. It is critical to recognize the importance of a thriving innovation ecosystem, build trust in science and health literacy, and support improved and expanded pathogen sharing and disease surveillance.

Preparing for future pandemics also requires open borders and the removal of trade restrictions to counter vaccine nationalism. Collectively, we must support an enabling healthcare environment through multi-stakeholder partnerships to improve health system readiness and global health security.


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