Statement 7 February 2020

WHO EB 146 Agenda Item 20: Data and innovation: draft global strategy on digital health


We stand with WHO and Member States in the digital transformation of healthcare and are encouraged by the work achieved by the WHO, particularly since the creation of the WHO Department of Digital Health.

Through collaborations and partnerships of the healthcare industry with governments, NGOs, and other stakeholders, we are already supporting the road to UHC by delivering innovative solutions to improve treatment outcomes, access to care, research, and by co-building an ecosystem where digital technologies meaningfully complement resilient, patient-centred health systems.

The draft Global Strategy sets forth an ambitious plan, tackling key aspects of digital technologies for health, such as those of legal, ethical and regulatory frameworks, health data governance including privacy and security, and interoperability frameworks, with a view towards harmonization. However, realizing these ambitions will not be possible without a coordinated multi-stakeholder approach, including patients, governments, national regulators, health care professionals, academia, and the healthcare industry.

Appropriate use of health data and establishment of appropriate global standards, in particular on EMRs, can significantly support evidence-based healthcare solutions, but governments will also need to commit to the necessary steps in line with the Global Strategy and dedicate appropriate resources to the implementation and scale-up of this transformation.

We call strongly on WHO to align its work on digital technologies with other international organisations and to meaningfully engage the healthcare industry in realizing the potential of digital technologies for health. We further call on Member States to recognize the benefits of new technologies for health, and to foster an ecosystem which robustly assesses outcomes and rewards true innovation. We look forward to continuing a constructive and inclusive debate on digital health.

This Statement is made by the International Federation of Pharmaceutical Manufacturers and Associations, the Global Diagnostic Imaging, Healthcare IT & Radiation Therapy Trade Association, and the Global Self-Care Federation (previously called the World Self-Medication Industry).


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