Engagement across sectors fosters new development plans
By Mia Burns (email@example.com)
Pharma industry leaders are calling for the continuous dialogue and constructive engagement involving all stakeholders as governments convene in New York to review the world’s efforts for the achievement of the United Nations Millennium Development Goals and chart the new pathway for global development beyond 2015.
The International Federation of Pharmaceutical Manufacturers & Associations has released a new publication that shows how transformative partnerships and accountability frameworks between civil society, the private sector, and governments can promote more equitable, inclusive, and sustainable development.
IFPMA claims that with more than 220 global partnerships addressing a wide range of diseases and focusing on prevention, improvements in health system infrastructures, training, R&D, and medicine and vaccine donations, the pharma industry plays an important role in advancing progress toward the health-related millennium development goals.
The current millennium development goals began in 2000 and are reaching expiration. “There has been a lot of progress made,” says Peter Shelby, associate director, communications, IFPMA. “We have been involved with the first--the industry has--and as they start to plan for the next, our message of course was, ‘Please take into account the role of the private sector, of civil society because they have been a key part of the success that we have seen so far.’”
According to the IFPMA publication, Sustainable Health and Multi-stakeholder Action – Lessons Learned from the MDGs),the eight millennium development goals are eradicating extreme poverty and hunger, achieving universal primary education, promoting gender equality and empowering women, reducing child mortality, improving maternal health, combating HIV/AIDS, malaria, and other diseases, ensuring environmental sustainability, and a global partnership for development. The industry engages in a wider set of in-kind donations reflecting other elements that impact access to health in developing countries. Volunteerism, capacity building programs, voluntary and royalty-free licenses, and training initiatives are just a few examples that demonstrate IFPMA’s long-term commitment beyond donations. As access goes beyond the simple provision of medicines to patients in need, these programs also target systemic issues through efforts to strengthen local healthcare capacity and educate patients and populations at risk.
IFPMA Director General Eduardo Pisani says, “The United Nations calls for the ‘engagement of responsible business and civil society’ and recognizes the ‘need to pool efforts as never before.’”
During a high-level UN meeting two years ago, there was a focus on non- communicable diseases and non-infectious such as diabetes, heart disease, cancer, and respiratory disease, according to Shelby. The diseases were placed within this category as they were not receiving as much attention, particularly, in the developing world. “As bad as we think and know it is in the west for diabetes, it is really exploding in the developing world,” he told Med Ad News Daily. “Eighty percent of the deaths in the world from diabetes, cancer and heart diseases are happening now in Africa and in the low-income and middle nations. We are fortunate that we have the access to medicines and the resources to treat them, but in these countries, that is a major deficit. It is really a global focus on diabetes, heart disease, and cancer.”
The heritage of the millennium development goals is rich, according to the IFPMA publication. Firstly, the millennium development goals have taught governments, businesses, and civil society how to work together. Lessons learned and applied since 2000 show the importance of partnerships as a buttress in facilitating the architecture of many interventions on extreme poverty, education, gender equality, and sustainability. Multiple sectors can continue to join forces to strengthen healthcare systems, identify sustainable financing mechanisms, and reduce the add-on costs of health products and services along the supply chain. Secondly, the millennium development goals have initiated a culture of awareness and change in institutions and the broader public. The new goals should continue in this direction, expanding ownership towards communities in an effort to relate to people, who are the final beneficiaries of any commitment as we go forward.
“To maximize the impact of private sector action on global health goals, we need proactive, cross-sector engagement in framing the next set of development goals,” says Eduardo Pisani. “The original MDGs were conceived without a clear map as to how the private sector could contribute. Pharmaceutical companies came to the fore anyway—recognizing the criticality of their unique contributions. But we know that there is no sector—not government, not civil society, not industry—that can alone drive the system-wide change that is required to address the most intractable health challenges.”
Posted: September 2013