IFPMA Statement for the resumed 73rd WHA on agenda item 13.2 WHO’s work in health emergencies
We are fully committed to the principles of global equitable access to COVID-19 medicines and vaccines
The biopharmaceutical –and pharmaceutical industries are committed to the principles of global equitable access to COVID-19 medicines and vaccines. Our global community is faced with an unprecedented health emergency that requires our collective expertise and partnership to find a solution to the COVID-19 pandemic. Today, scientists in the public and private sectors are jointly engaged to bring a swift end to COVID-19. The biopharmaceutical and pharmaceutical industries stand united with governments and global health stakeholders worldwide to combat the crisis, recognizing that cooperation and collaboration among all sectors of society is highly critical to meet this challenge. Both IFPMA and IGBA are founding partners of the Access to COVID-19 Tools (ACT) Accelerator, and are engaged in a multitude of initiatives to address the pandemic.
From day one of the crisis, biopharmaceutical and pharmaceutical companies have shown their commitment to business ethics and integrity as well as to using their resources, technologies and know-how to supply medicines by scaling up manufacturing output and to assessing their research pipelines and beginning the development of novel therapeutics and vaccines for COVID-19. In addition, while critical resources have been committed to address the pandemic, other equally important efforts continued for the benefit of patients globally beyond COVID-19. Notably, industry has worked to ensure the distribution of medicines and vaccines to address other critical conditions at a time of unprecedented demand surges and new logistical challenges.
We recognise the responsibility we have as an industry to bring our unique scientific, technical and manufacturing expertise to meet the increased demand for medicines; and to the discovery and development of affordable therapeutics and vaccines for COVID-19, We look to the principles of international solidarity to ensure others play their part in providing the enabling environment for us to do our job in the best way possible. An enabling environment must:
- Ensure trade barriers, including export restrictions, are lifted and unethical business conduct is eliminated, as they impact our ability to receive materials, including critical raw ingredients, APIs and medical devices for our own supply chains, and impede our ability to distribute our critically-needed finished products;
- Ensure continued disease surveillance and open and rapid sharing of information;
- Facilitate rapid development of robust forecasting models and clear, coordinated demand planning to inform decisions on clinical development, scale-up, and right-sizing of manufacturing assets for diagnostics, therapeutics and vaccines;
- Establish, in collaboration with cross-sector initiatives such as ACT-A, risk-sharing models, including funding for manufacturing investments and advance purchase agreements, that recognize the uncertainty of the pandemic as the actual demand, geography, and epidemiology of the disease evolves over time;
- Encourage national regulatory agency alignment and collaboration across borders through good reliance practices that improve and expedite access to therapeutics and vaccines, whilst ensuring product quality, efficacy and safety and international manufacturing standards;
- Create opportunities for partnership between the private and public sectors across the spectrum of health issues that are critical to address the pandemic.
- Support an effective and balanced intellectual property framework, a key factor to enable R&D, accelerate manufacturing scale-up, and facilitate licensing for therapeutics and vaccines;
- Ensure equitable access for COVID -19 therapeutics and vaccines at global and national levels by supporting multilateral organizations and country leaders to align on allocation principles in line with WHO agreed principles.
Moving forward, we must ensure adequate resources are spent to build stronger, more resilient health systems that can cope with complex health challenges. We must minimise disruption to the provision of essential health services and the fight against priority diseases, working to ensure we do not undermine the significant progress we have made together on major health challenges such as NCDs, routine immunisation, and other infectious diseases.