To coincide with the United Nations High-Level Meeting on NCDs, the research-based pharmaceutical industry today outlined the steps it is taking to address the rise of NCDs in the developing world. Building on its Framework for Action released earlier this year, the International Federation of Pharmaceutical Manufacturers and Associations (IFPMA) revealed the findings of the first report of an independent policy research programme focused on identifying the most significant obstacles to stemming the tide of NCDs in developing countries.
The top line findings of the research show that effective first-line NCD medicines exist and are now available in generic form, but, in many instances, these medicines are still failing to reach many people living in the developing world.
The study identified four priority areas for the research-based pharmaceutical industry to consider:
- innovative ways to improve NCD medicine adherence
- overcoming barriers to availability in poor and remote areas where large mark-ups, tax and duties, along the supply chain, as well as counterfeit products, are an issue
- improving access to primary care
- removing regulatory restrictions that hamper medicine availability in developing countries.
These priority areas provide the basis for the next four studies in the IFPMA NCD research series. The aim is that the studies will help the research-based pharmaceutical industry and its partners develop and carry out the actions that will most effectively improve access to NCD medicines in developing countries. In parallel, IFPMA and its member companies continue investing in NCD health partnerships and prevention programmes.
Eduardo Pisani, Director General of the IFPMA said, “50 percent of NCDs are avoidable, therefore prevention measures, including lifestyle modifications – doing more physical exercise, stopping smoking and a healthy diet – are some of the most cost-effective and efficient ways to tackle the magnitude of NCDs across the developing world. But we know that while prevention is imperative and cost-effective, its impact can only be felt over the longer term. We also need to know how best to improve access to treatments that patients in developing countries need more urgently. The launch of the first in the series of IFPMA reports illustrates how the research-based pharmaceutical industry is committed to this challenge, and how we want to understand what areas require particular focus.”
David Brennan, CEO AstraZeneca and President of the IFPMA said, “The increasing burden of NCDs in low and middle-income countries poses an economic, social and moral stumbling block to global health and prosperity. There is no silver bullet solution because the scale of the problem is so complex. This underscores the importance of partnership to understand what the most significant problems are and to work together to solve them.”
Today, the research-based pharmaceutical companies are committed to 213 health partnerships, a quarter of which deal directly with NCDs or help strengthen the primary care to deliver treatments. The IFPMA is also committed to forging new NCD partnerships. On 12 September, the World Health Professions Alliance announced an NCD Health Improvement Card and toolkit, sponsored by the IFPMA. This NCD toolkit will be shared with over 26 million health care professionals in more than 130 countries to help encourage patients to identify and prevent risky behaviours.
David Brennan explains: “The research-based pharmaceutical industry’s framework for action clarifies many areas where we are already actively making practical contributions. From training healthcare professionals on diabetes in India, to providing state-of-the-art diagnostic equipment to assist in breast cancer treatment in Ethiopia, we continue to invest in programmes that address the public health needs in developing countries by focusing on strengthening healthcare systems, improving health education and building capacity. We all have an interest in ensuring patients in developing countries have access to the care and treatments they need. Effective first-line NCD medicines that were developed by the industry decades ago are now available in generic form; however, in many instances, these are still out of reach for people who need them. Improving access to these and other effective medicines that we continue to develop remains a priority for us all.”
19 September 2011, New York