IFPMA statement at the 73rd session of the WHO Regional Committee for Western Pacific: Noncommunicable disease prevention and control

Published on: 27 October 2022

IFPMA appreciates the opportunity to make this statement. The ongoing fight against COVID-19 has shown that those with chronic conditions and co-morbidities are often the most vulnerable and have suffered the most throughout the pandemic. In this context, we congratulate WPRO on keeping NCD-related issues high on the regional agenda, as failure to adequately invest in NCD prevention and control is hampering our collective ability to proactively deal with health crises. Strong health systems and primary health care, qualified and well-resourced health professionals, and healthy populations overall are critical for health preparedness.

At a global level, IFPMA has been a strong voice in WHO’s Private Sector Dialogues on NCDs, discussing meaningful ways forward on how to improve access and affordability of NCD medicines and products within both the diabetes and hypertension areas. Our industry is keen to play its part in developing fit-for-purpose solutions that can improve access to medicines especially for people living with NCDs in lower-resource settings, but this requires other stakeholders to also fulfil their responsibilities, whether it be in strengthening supply chains, reducing mark-ups, building workforce capacity, or improving health literacy. Our wealth of experience in working to improve access has shown that reducing prices of our products alone will not achieve sufficiently significant outcomes. Newer, more innovative thinking is needed to tackle the complex challenges in NCDs. In this spirit, we recently joined the newly launched Access to Oncology Medicines (ATOM) Consortium to work together with others to drive forward improved access to cancer medicines in some of the world’s poorest countries, some of which are in this region.

With aging societies, increasing medical expenses and a growing nursing care burden are becoming more serious. We believe it is necessary to enhance international cooperation to promote the prevention and early detection of NCDs including dementia, to realize the extension of healthy life expectancy and achieve sustainable universal health coverage (UHC), which is fundamental to health security.

Looking ahead to 2025 and 2030, we remain concerned that achieving SDG 3.4 will be a tall order if we do not come together and ramp up our efforts on NCDs. In that respect, implementation of the best buys as well as significant improvements in sustainable financing will both be critical to this.

We believe the private sector remains a critical partner in addressing the gaps in response to NCDs.  We continue to be a committed stakeholder in tackling NCDs and will carry on working with others to build access solutions and contribute towards stronger health systems, with the aim of improving the lives of people living with NCDs.