GENEVA & BERLIN–(BUSINESS WIRE)–The biopharmaceutical industry today launched the “Berlin Declaration – biopharmaceutical industry vision for equitable pandemic accessand presents world leaders with a proposal that could help ensure that the supply of pandemic vaccines, treatments and diagnostics are provided as early as possible in future pandemics to those who need them most. The industry, which has developed COVID-19 vaccines and treatments at record speed and in historic quantities, proposes to create a collaborative solution for an even more equitable deployment of vaccines, treatments and diagnostics for future pandemics. He files the declaration and calls for discussions with the G7, G20, multilateral organizations and other decision makers involved in pandemic preparedness to explore how the industry bid to prioritize and reserve real-time production allocation for distribution to populations low-income priorities would contribute to the holistic and equitable solution the world needs.
A prerequisite for the declaration’s success is to ensure that health systems in low-income countries are better prepared to absorb and deliver vaccines and treatments, and that high-income countries provide the necessary political and financial support. The statement highlights the need for a strong innovation ecosystem, based on intellectual property rights, and the removal of trade and regulatory barriers to exporting. It also points out that without strong pandemic plans to deliver pandemic vaccines, treatments, diagnostics and care to people in all countries, attempts to improve equity will fail.
The statement recognizes that while manufacturing innovation and scale has been successful in unprecedented ways during COVID-19, efforts to achieve equitable access have not been fully realized due to inadequate funding mechanisms to begin with and a lack of country preparedness that still prevents vaccines from getting to every arm that needs them. For future pandemics, it is essential to ensure that all countries have the technical and health infrastructure, the human resources and the financial capacity as well as the political support to successfully vaccinate, test and treat their populations. Furthermore, the success of the proposal requires open borders and no trade restrictions.
The results of the G7 summit in June (link) on investing in a healthier future under the overarching theme of “progress towards an equitable world”, and the recently approved Pandemic Financial Intermediate Fund (link) are encouraging signs that the world has not moved as feared from panic to neglect when it comes to preparing for future pandemics. Jean-Christophe Tellier, President and CEO of UCB’s IFPMA, said: “We salute Germany’s leadership in the G7’s response to the pandemic and are confident that our statement is viewed by world leaders as a practical proposal to strengthen equitable access to the future response to the pandemic. To make this potentially life-saving concept a reality, we will need to work with the G7, and later this year in Bali with the G20 to flesh out how to make it work. If successful, the award will help shape a future where everyone has a chance to be better protected from the threat of pandemics from the start, regardless of where they live.”
The industry is already receiving positive reactions to its proposal and expressions of interest in further discussion.
His Excellency Budi Gunadi Sadikin, Minister of Health of Indonesia, said: “The biopharmaceutical industry has a critical role to play in preparing for future pandemics. Achieving more equitable access to vaccines and treatments in future pandemics will require close collaboration between governments, the private sector and civil society. I salute the biopharmaceutical industry’s commitment to our shared vision of “real-time” access to priority populations in low-income countries. I look forward to working with the political leaders of the G7 and G20 to advance this important initiative.
José Manuel Barroso, President of Gavi and Co-President of COVAX, shared his views after hearing about the proposal: “I applaud IFPMA and industry leaders for seizing the initiative. We have seen efficient innovation and manufacturing grow with this pandemic; but we also saw the challenges we had to overcome to get vaccines to everyone who needed them. The industry’s commitment to reserve part of the production of vaccines and treatments in real time for vulnerable populations in low-income countries offers the opportunity to work together strategically to forge a new social contract. I hope political leaders will do their part and engage with industry on how to make this work.
The industry’s representative body to multilateral institutions throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, IFPMA, will forward the proposal to the G7 and G20. Thomas Cueni, IFPMA Chief Executive: “With all stakeholders collaborating and playing their part, we can ensure that the efforts, investments, learnings and losses seen during COVID-19 are not wasted, but rather help shape a future where everyone is better protected from the threat of pandemics. As we crafted the declaration, I was greatly encouraged by the positive responses we received from government officials as well as partners and civil society Our proposal is just a first step on the path to what I believe has the potential to be a transformational solution for future pandemics.
IFPMA (https://www.ifpma.org/) represents research-based pharmaceutical companies and associations around the world. The research-based pharmaceutical industry’s 2 million employees discover, develop and deliver medicines and vaccines that improve the lives of patients around the world. Based in Geneva, IFPMA maintains official relations with the United Nations and lends its industry expertise to help the global health community find solutions that improve global health.