As the global pharmaceutical industry advocates for even greater collaboration critical to future global health progress, the International Federation of Pharmaceutical Manufacturers & Associations IFPMA has launched a report detailing milestones achieved in the health sector worldwide over the last 50 years.
The report launched features Kenya as a key player in the formal pharmaceutical space in Sub-Sahara Africa. Notably, the report by IFPMA affiliate –Kenya Association of Pharmaceutical Industry (KAPI)- highlights Kenya’s support for an ongoing World Health Organisation (WHO) pilot trial on a malaria vaccine scientifically code named RTS,S.
RTS,S is an injectable vaccine that provides partial protection against malaria in young children.
Alongside Ghana and Malawi, Kenya has partnered with WHO in the Malaria Vaccine Implementation Programme (MVIP) that will make the RTS,S vaccine available in selected areas of the three countries. The two year clinical trial is expected to provide initial insights on the programmatic feasibility of delivering the RTS,S/AS01 vaccine (trade name Mosquirix™) in real-life settings and on the safety profile of RTS,S in the context of routine use.
Speaking when she confirmed the local launch of the IFPMA “50 Years of Global Health Progress” report, KAPI Chairperson Dr. Anastasia Nyalita said the report traces global health progress over the past 50 years. The report also catalogues the pioneering collaborative role the research-based biopharmaceutical industry has played not only to deliver prevention and treatment, but also to strengthen health systems around the world.
“At KAPI, we salute the role played by our global affiliate IFPMA in collating a report that advances the body of knowledge on the role of pharmaceutical industry in development here in Kenya and beyond,” Dr. Nyalita said.
The report reviews some of the research-based biopharmaceutical industry’s major scientific advances, as well as acknowledging challenges the industry faces and areas of unfinished business. The industry’s track record of partnerships over recent decades demonstrates what uniting governments, civil society and business can achieve. The report concludes with a commitment to continue to innovate and partner with a shared goal to deliver better health for everyone, everywhere.
IFPMA President, Mr. Ian Read, who is also the Chairman and CEO of Pfizer in a global communique noted that advances in both prevention and treatment of disease have transformed healthcare. “Vaccines are widely recognized as the simplest, most cost-effective way to save lives. HIV/AIDS, once fatal, can now be treated, as can many cancers. Cardiovascular disease sufferer’s now benefit from simple-one-a-day solutions. We can now cure Hepatitis C. We have an experimental vaccine for Ebola,” he noted.
“The industry joined the earliest global health partnerships such as, in the 1970s, the Expanded Program on Immunization and, in the 1980s, the polio eradication and smallpox initiatives. These have been followed by partnerships as diverse as DNDi, MMV, Global Fund for AIDS, TB and Malaria, GAVI, the Vaccine Alliance, MPP, and, more recently, CEPI and Access Accelerated.
“While the biopharmaceutical industry has been a key player in this progress, none of it would have been accomplished without partnerships. From patient advocates to our biotech and academic partners to individual governments, innovation is only as impactful as the partnerships that support it,” added Ian Read.
Partnerships are now the norm and the Sustainable Developments Goals serve to galvanize greater collaboration to confront new and remaining challenges as many people still lack access to essential health services, such as family planning, child immunization, antiretroviral therapy to combat HIV and AIDS, tuberculosis treatment, clean water and sanitation. Health systems struggle to respond effectively to burgeoning rates of non-communicable diseases; too many people still die prematurely from preventable diseases.
“Despite tremendous progress much more needs to be done to bring the fruits of our innovation to all. The research-based biopharmaceutical industry has learned that global health is about much more than medicines and vaccines – it requires building and supporting strong health systems, delivering education to communities to promote prevention, strengthening standards and regulations and creating innovative finance models. We will continue to evolve, learn and pioneer ways to do more to reach all patients. To do this we’ll need partnerships of all kinds to take on the challenges of Universal Health coverage (UHC). We need to continue to build bridges between key actors across the health system. More dialogue and action are musts” says IFPMA Director General, Thomas Cueni.
On the occasion of the 71st World Health Assembly and to celebrate its 50-year anniversary, IFPMA hosted an event on 23rd May in Geneva, which featured a top-level panel to discuss priorities in delivering better health for everyone, everywhere.