Global Healthcare on the Ground: IFPMA Engages Global Bodies to Push Health Efforts Forward - Pharmaceutical Technology

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Global Healthcare on the Ground: IFPMA Engages Global Bodies to Push Health Efforts Forward
International Federation of Pharmaceutical Manufacturers and Associations takes global action to improve public health.

Pharmaceutical Technology
Volume 35, Issue 9, pp. 22-24

Influenza pandemic preparedness. Influenza pandemic preparedness, including access to vaccines for developing nations, is a crucial issue in global public health and was one of the topics addressed by the World Health Assembly, the decision-making body of WHO, which met in May 2011, in Geneva. At the meeting, the World Health Assembly agreed to the Pandemic Influenza Preparedness (PIP) framework. IFPMA contributed to the deliberations of the WHO Open-Ended Working Group (OEWG) of Member States on PIP, which was tasked with improving the global system for responding to future influenza pandemics. The OEWG adopted an agreement in April 2011 for a PIP Framework, which was endorsed by the World Health Assembly in May.

IFPMA supported the OEWG's plan, in particular for addressing key challenges, such as increasing the capacity of vaccine production and enabling access in developing countries. IFPMA also supports the WHO's financial parameters for the industry for the WHO Global Influenza Surveillance Network (GISN).

The OEWG recommendation includes specific requirements for users of the GISN to ensure that vaccines and antivirals are made available to developing countries in the event of a future pandemic. During the most recent H1N1 pandemic, IFPMA vaccine manufacturers committed 166 million doses to meet the WHO target of 200 million vaccine doses for developing countries, according to IFPMA.

In commenting on the PIP framework, IFPMA recognized the importance of local production of vaccines and antivirals in pandemic preparedness and said it would continue to explore local production, pointing to investment made by member companies in several countries, including Mexico, Brazil, China, Indonesia, and Thailand. During the OEWG/PIP consultations, individual IFPMA members confirmed that they also were willing to voluntarily undertake a selection of actions in the event of a future pandemic, including production-capacity expansion and access to reverse-genetics technology, dependent upon skills, knowledge, financial management, public-health policy, and national regulation.

Counterfeit drugs. Counterfeit drugs in the developing world are a large public health concern and represent a key strategic focus for IFPMA. In 2010, 1735 incidents of fake medicines were reported by the Pharmaceutical Security Institute, a Washington, DC-based nonprofit organization, a nearly 10% increase compared with the prior two years. One third of these cases reached licensed wholesale distributors and/or pharmacies in 37 different countries.

In 2010, IFPMA partnered with its member association, PReMA, the national pharmaceutical industry association in Thailand, the International Association of Patients Organization, and the US Pharmacopeia to raise patient awareness about the health risks imposed by counterfeit medicines in Southeast Asia. IFPMA also chairs the working group on anticounterfeiting technologies of the International Medical Products AntiCounterfeiting Task Force (IMPACT). WHO established IMPACT in 2006 as the organization's drug anticounterfeiting group.

Looking forward

IFPMA has additional initiatives underway in the areas of neglected tropical diseases and antimicrobial resistance. Pisani emphasizes that the pharmaceutical industry's participation in solving global health concerns is part of a larger collaborative, multistakeholder approach. In that effort, he says transparency, cooperation, and trust are key. "We have to walk the talk," he concludes, underscoring not only the industry's participation in the dialogue on global health concerns, but its specific involvement in solutions.


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