The International Federation of Pharmaceutical Manufacturers & Associations (IFPMA) held its 25 th Assembly today in Washington DC, USA. This biannual event brought together CEOs and senior figures from IFPMA member companies and associations. They were joined by senior figures from intergovernmental organizations, national governments, the Washington diplomatic community and health-related NGOs.
IFPMA Director General, Eduardo Pisani, said: “For this Assembly, we have taken as our theme „a shared commitment to global health‟. Our industry is committed to doing its full share to help improve global health, and our growing contribution underlines that commitment. However, the challenge is vast and it plays out in a highly complex environment. The contributions of national governments, international institutions, NGOs, philanthropic foundations and other bodies are also essential. We therefore encourage and seek to enhance dialog and partnership to bring our combined efforts to bear, as effectively and as efficiently as possible.”
The Assembly brought together three panels of eminent representatives of leading international and US agencies, organizations and companies to explore different aspects of the global health challenge.
The first topic discussed was “Is improved health a pre-requisite for economic development?” Participating in the discussion was Dr. Hiroki Nakatani, Assistant Director-General, HIV/AIDS, TB, Malaria and Neglected Tropical Diseases at the World Health Organization, who commented: “Health and economic development are interrelated, one drives the other and vice-versa, and so health should not be isolated from the wider government agenda.”
The second panel examined the question “Are capacity building efforts addressing the real priorities of developing countries?” Panel speaker Ms. Matshidiso Masire, Director of Advocacy, International AIDS Vaccine Initiative (IAVI) noted: “We need to look at creating an enabling environment for research, across all the countries which are most affected. We need to extend best practices more broadly.”
The third panel focused on the issue of “Technology transfer: a panacea for the developing world?” On the panel was Mr. Antony Traubman, Director, Intellectual Property Division, World Trade Organization, who remarked: “Optimizing technology transfer in the health domain is complex and multi-faceted. Policymakers will clearly benefit from sharing experience and lessons from innovative structures such as product development partnerships. The IFPMA Assembly helps this.”
The Assembly program also featured addresses by both outgoing and incoming IFPMA Presidents. It included the publication of the 2010 edition of the IFPMA Status Report on Pharmaceutical Industry R&D for Diseases of the Developing World, as well as a special session to showcase IFPMA member company Novartis‟ Malaria Initiatives. This is just one example of the many programs mounted by a member company, in partnership with public and private sector bodies, to advance health in developing countries.
Washington DC, 10 November 2010