Pharmaceutical Companies Partner in Global Health

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PTSM: Pharmaceutical Technology Sourcing and Management

PTSM: Pharmaceutical Technology Sourcing and Management-10-03-2012, Volume 8, Issue 10

A recent review evaluates the nature of global health partnerships and critical factors for their success.

The pharmaceutical industry is engaged in a multitude of global health initiatives, which include partnerships with governments, intergovernmental organizations, nongovernmental organizations (NGOs), private-sector companies, and universities. To help evaluate these partnerships, the International Federation of Pharmaceutical Manufacturers & Associations (IFPMA) recently partnered with BSR, a global business network consultancy focused on sustainability. To carry out the review, BSR developed an evaluation framework to help IFPMA, its stakeholders, and companies better understand how individual partnerships are contributing to improving global health

Last month, IFPMA published the 2012 update to its Developing World Health Partnerships Directory. The directory outlines 220 partnerships between the research-based pharmaceutical industry and its partners, including governments, intergovernmental organizations, NGOS, private-sector companies, and universities that serve people in 160 countries. The launch of the directory coincided with the release of an independent review by BSR of the contributions these health partnerships make to the health of people in low- and middle-income countries.

“Global health issues are complex, and solutions often require a range of organizations working together,” said Eduardo Pisani, IFPMA Director General, in a Sept. 11, 2012, IFPMA release. “Understanding the value of partnerships, our industry and partners have increased these programs dramatically in recent years as highlighted in our directory. This year, we are pleased that BSR analyzed these programs and made suggestions for increasing the benefit people in developing countries.”

The industry-led health partnerships catalogued in the IFPMA’s Developing World Health Partnerships Directory focus on a wide range of activities: developing new treatments, improving the availability of new and existing drugs, strengthening health systems, raising awareness, prevention, and training. They also cover various types of diseases, such as HIV/AIDS, neglected tropical diseases, malaria, noncommunicable diseases, and other multifaceted health challenges, such as improving women’s and children’s health.


Of the 220 global health partnerships reviewed by BSR, 20% were focused on HIV/AIDS, 16% on neglected tropical diseases, 16% on women’s and children’s health, 14% on malaria, and 14% on noncommunicable diseases. On a program basis, 50% of the partnerships strengthen health-system infrastructure, and 79% focus on training. Thirty-six percent focus on improving availability of treatments, including donation programs. Fifty-nine percent of the partnerships are R&D-based collaborations focused on the development of new treatments, and 38% focus on awareness raising, prevention, and outreach. The majority of partnerships (62%) involve NGOs, and also include partners from government and academia, and 15% of the partnerships involve multiple research-based pharmaceutical companies.

According to BSR’s review, 90% of companies surveyed expect to increase partnership commitments toward noncommunicable diseases while maintaining commitments across other therapeutic areas. While 65% of the industry-led health partnerships currently operate in Sub-Saharan Africa, expansion is planned in South Asia, East Asia, and Latin America. Forty percent of companies interviewed expect to increase investments in partnerships.

The BSR review also examined the critical success factors for increasing the impact of the health partnerships, including the adoption of a health needs-based approach, engaging in broad-based and multi-company partnerships, and aligning existing and future partnerships to maximize shared resources and expertise. Using existing country systems and local ownership also is important as is providing comprehensive outcome tracking and impact measures, according to the BSR review.