IFPMA recommends WHO Fair Pricing Forum outcomes focus on feasible areas for collaboration where there is broad consensus

Published on: 11 May 2017

An IFPMA delegation of research-based biopharmaceutical experts participated in the WHO Fair Pricing Forum held in Amsterdam. Coming out of the meeting, IFPMA said it welcomed the opportunity to work with all stakeholders to enhance innovation and increase patient access to medicines and vaccines. WHO Fair Pricing Forum is one-step in an evidence-based structured process towards actionable areas for collaboration where there is broad consensus.

Thomas Cueni, Director General of IFPMA, said “we witnessed today at the Forum that with goodwill on all sides, it is possible to have a largely constructive debate. We must focus on one or two areas where we saw today there is broad consensus, such as anti-microbial resistance (AMR) and shortages. We learn to work together better, get to understand better each other’s challenges and strengths, and importantly build trust and create open lines for communication”. In addition, he underscored that “by and large the current research-based biopharmaceutical business model works well and has produced new medicines that have transformed the treatment of many diseases, including HIV, cancer and many rare diseases, and more generally have largely contributed to major improvements in global health and radical increases in life expectancy”.

IFPMA was pleased to see the broad agreement among participants that prices should reflect the therapeutic value of medicines. However, IFPMA warned against a narrow focus on just one component of national healthcare spending. The fact that more than 90% of the medicines currently included in the WHO List of Essential Medicines are generic, many people in low- and middle-income countries still do not have access even to these medicines. It should also be acknowledged that spending on prescription medicines in the vast majority of OECD countries has been stable at around 10-15% of total health care spend for a number of years. This is quite remarkable, given the biopharmaceutical industry in the last 10-15 years has developed a number of breakthrough treatments.

Any debate about sustainable access to medicines and efficiency of healthcare spending needs to be holistic, looking at both health and social care systems, identifying waste or weakness in the health system and inefficiencies in the supply chain, and taking a long-term and comprehensive view when measuring the value of new medicines.

IFPMA looks forward to working with the WHO and other stakeholders in strengthening health systems and improving patient access to medicines and vaccines.


IFPMA represents the research-based pharmaceutical companies and associations across the globe. The research-based pharmaceutical industry’s 2 million employees discover, develop, and deliver medicines and vaccines that improve the life of patients worldwide. Based in Geneva, IFPMA has official relations with the United Nations and contributes industry expertise to help the global health community find solutions that improve global health.

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Sadia Kaenzig
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