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    IFPMA Report, Panel, Examine Rise Of Industry Global Health Partnerships

    Published on 12 September 2012 @ 8:33 pm

    By , Intellectual Property Watch

    A new report commissioned by international pharmaceutical industry released yesterday offers findings and recommendations based on study of more than 200 global health partnerships aimed at low- and middle-income countries. The report was released at a panel discussion of a range of health experts who highlighted work to date and upcoming needs in the area of global health partnerships.

    The event was organised by the International Federation of Pharmaceutical Manufacturers and Associations (IFPMA). Also at the event, an updated version of IFPMA’s Developing World Health Partnerships Directory was announced. The directory is an online database of 220 health development programs involving the research-based pharmaceutical industry (though not generics).

    The new report, or review, was produced by the Business for Social Responsibility (BSR) consulting group. The report, which authors said is independent, is focussed on partnerships involving industry and identified key strengths and gaps as well as future trends.

    IFPMA highlighted that the report found that some 90 percent of surveyed companies expect to increase partnership work on noncommunicable diseases, in addition to other therapeutic areas. It also found that 65 percent of industry-led partnerships are in sub-Saharan Africa, industry is branching out more to South and East Asia and Latin America. The report also found 40 percent of companies expect to increase investments in partnerships.

    Strengths included coverage of a broad of range of diseases, a focus on health systems infrastructure, and that almost half of partnerships involve government and/or non-governmental organisations. Other strengths were the leveraging of assets – such as other human resources like lawyers or communications specialists – as well as improving financing of late stage R&D, and ensuring quality and stability of treatment.

    Gaps identified in the analysis included: a greater focus on NCDs, holistic capacity building at the local level, and “a clear absence of fully aligned multicompany partnerships and coordination of partnerships involving multiple organisations.” It also included an understanding of return on investment, including non-financial aspects, and encouraging a “partnership mindset,” as well as constricted resources and lack of impact measurement.

    Therefore, the group identified several “success factors” it thought could help bridge the gaps. These included: taking a health-needs-based approach, engaging in broad-based partnerships, establishing aligned partnerships, using existing country systems and promoting local ownership, and measuring impact. Details on each of the factors were provided.

    The report refers to “appropriate” stakeholders but does not thoroughly explain what this means, and did not address issues of coordination among partnerships.

    The report cites several common recent examples of industry partnerships, such as a World Intellectual Property Organization partnership with the IP-owning pharmaceutical industry called Re:Search, which encourages use of patented compounds, technologies, know-how and data for R&D for neglected diseases.

    Based on feedback from the forum, author Little said there may be a need to work with more stakeholders in and outside of the pharmaceutical industry, and a need to map out who likely stakeholders are. There may also be a need to address partnerships with vulnerable populations, such as women or people in rural areas, as well as look at the distribution and procurement of medicines.

    Panel Delves into Issues

    The panel was moderated by Sunoor Verma, executive director of the Geneva Health Forum, and speakers included: Kenyan Ambassador Tom Mboya Okeyo; Daniel Lopez Acuña, adviser to the director-general at the World Health Organization (WHO); Johanna Ralston, CEO of the World Heart Federation and founding member of the NCD Alliance; Jon Pearman, head of accelerated vaccine introduction at GAVI; Evan Lee, vice president of global health programs and access at Eli Lilly; and report author Mark Little, director of health care at Business for Social Responsibility (BSR)

    In his panel remarks, Kenyan Ambassador Mboya stressed the need for greater coordination among the various partnership efforts, with a focus on the national level, and on impact at the national level. He said what is important to note in the range of partnerships is the “shared goals.”

    Mboya gave several examples of how various partnerships had had a significant impact on local populations, sometimes with very little funds. He included examples of industry contributions of vaccines, or of lower-priced versions of expensive drugs.

    But he said now coordination of different partnerships needs to take place, at the country level. He said he expects WHO to work to put the focus more at the national level, supporting national objectives.

    Efforts at WHO

    Mboya called on the WHO Executive Board to create a mechanism for having discussions about partnerships among the big funds (such as Gates Foundation or the Global Fund), industry, non-governmental organisations, religious groups and others. He called the IFPMA event a “milestone.”

    The emphasis on coordination was also mentioned to Intellectual Property Watch by a Brazilian health official after the event.

    Acuña of the WHO said the UN agency adopted a policy on partnerships in 2010, and is expected to advance work in its programme for next 6 years to be adopted at next May’s annual World Health Assembly.

    He said WHO expects to bring a draft policy on engagement with NGOs to member states at the January 2013 Executive Board meeting. Also expected at that date is a report on partnerships hosted by WHO with an analysis of how they fit with WHO’s work. And by May 2013, WHO expects to bring a draft policy on its interaction with the private sector to members.

    Acuña highlighted aspects of WHO’s current policy on partnerships, such as that they should have clear value-added, work with the WHO’s objectives as set by its members, reflect different stakeholders, support national development objectives, give public health goals precedence, and have a monitoring mechanism.

    Acuña also stressed that engagement with WHO there “will always be a fine balance to strike” to work with different actors, but that it the agency provides objectivity and independence, and must maintain transparency with no vested interests. The organisation provides the possibility of listening to different perspectives and finding common ground, with a focus on shared goals in order to find solutions.

    Panel moderator Verma opened with provocative remarks such as that the word “partnerships” has developed a negative connotation. Experts he consulted before the meeting reacted to the word in various ways, he said, such as saying it is synonymous with “sponsorship,” or is a form a “piggyback riding” in which the partner does all the work for you and you get the credit.

    But, he said, partnerships are serious business. They can drain resources and need good leadership. In the case of low- and middle-income countries, it can be difficult to find or work with partners, Verma as well as industry representatives on the panel said. Verma said the country may be a failed state, or suffering from corruption or other issues.

    In addition, he said, the pharmaceutical industry has endured a “series of scandals,” he said, such as many recalls of drugs in recent years, not to mention the “rub-off” effect of association with problems tied to other areas like the food and beverage industry.

    But he said he has not heard a “leadership voice” from the pharmaceutical industry, like a Bill Gates or Steve Jobs. This is coupled with a “lack of articulated vision” from international organisations, which more often than not present project statements, not vision.

    Verma said an area of focus could be, for instance, the health status of Africans, who, despite seeing a 200 percent rise in per capita GDP in the last 20 years, have only added 2 years to average life expectancy.

    Ralston highlighted NCD issues and provided data and targets. She took issue with the word “industry” in reference to public health, as her organisation receives industry funding. She also rejected the popular reference to noncommunicable diseases as being “lifestyle” diseases, as it does a disservice to those in low- to middle-income countries who may not have had a choice in their diet or other factors. She also said that with NCDs, the focus should reach beyond the health sector to related areas such as agriculture or transportation. Ralston also suggested the health sector look at the environmental movement, to “see how we can make ‘wellness’ be the new ‘green’.”

    Pearman of Geneva-based GAVI touted the success of GAVI as a partnership between various entities, citing its “exponential” rise in funding, and the saving of millions of lives through its provision of vaccines, reaching “nearly half of the children on the planet.”

    Pearman said a key factor for success of GAVI’s work is the speed of price declines, as the organisation allows companies to raise volume of products and thereby drop prices to reach the same revenue. He said that country readiness to engage in vaccine programmes is the biggest challenge.

    William New may be reached at wnew@ip-watch.ch.

     


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    We welcome your participation in article and blog comment threads, and other discussion forums, where we encourage you to analyse and react to the content available on the Intellectual Property Watch website. By participating in discussions or reader forums, or by submitting opinion pieces or comments to articles, blogs, reviews or multimedia features, you are consenting to these rules.

    We welcome your participation in article and blog comment threads, and other discussion forums, where we encourage you to analyse and react to the content available on the Intellectual Property Watch website.

    By participating in discussions or reader forums, or by submitting opinion pieces or comments to articles, blogs, reviews or multimedia features, you are consenting to these rules.

    1. You agree that you are fully responsible for the content that you post. You will not knowingly post content that violates the copyright, trademark, patent or other intellectual property right of any third party or which you know is under a confidentiality obligation preventing its publication and that you will request removal of the same should you discover that you have violated this provision. Likewise, you may not post content that is libelous, defamatory, obscene, abusive, that violates a third party's right to privacy, that otherwise violates any applicable local, state, national or international law, that amounts to spamming or that is otherwise inappropriate. You may not post content that degrades others on the basis of gender, race, class, ethnicity, national origin, religion, sexual preference, disability or other classification. Epithets and other language intended to intimidate or to incite violence are also prohibited. Furthermore, you may not impersonate others.

    2. You understand and agree that Intellectual Property Watch is not responsible for any content posted by you or third parties. You further understand that IP Watch does not monitor the content posted. Nevertheless, IP Watch may monitor the any user-generated content as it chooses and reserves the right to remove, edit or otherwise alter content that it deems inappropriate for any reason whatever without consent nor notice. We further reserve the right, in our sole discretion, to remove a user's privilege to post content on our site. IP Watch is not in any manner endorsing the content of the discussion forums and cannot and will not vouch for its reliability or otherwise accept liability for it.

    3. By submitting any contribution to IP Watch, you warrant that your contribution is your own original work and that you have the right to make it available to IP Watch for all purposes and you agree to indemnify IP Watch, its directors, employees and agents against all damages, legal fees and others expenses that may be incurred by IP Watch as a result of your breach of warranty or of these terms.

    4. You further agree not to publish any personal information about yourself or anyone else (for example telephone number or home address). If you add a comment to a blog, be aware that your email address will be apparent.

    5. IP Watch will not be liable for any loss including but not limited to the following (whether such losses are foreseen, known or otherwise): loss of data, loss of revenue or anticipated profit, loss of business, loss of opportunity, loss of goodwill or injury to reputation, losses suffered by third parties, any indirect, consequential or exemplary damages.

    6. You understand and agree that the discussion forums are to be used only for non-commercial purposes. You may not solicit funds, promote commercial entities or otherwise engage in commercial activity in our discussion forums.

    7. You acknowledge and agree that you use and/or rely on any information obtained through the discussion forums at your own risk.

    8. For any content that you post, you hereby grant to IP Watch the royalty-free, irrevocable, perpetual, exclusive and fully sub-licensable license to use, reproduce, modify, adapt, publish, translate, create derivative works from, distribute, perform and display such content in whole or in part, world-wide and to incorporate it in other works, in any form, media or technology now known or later developed.

    9. These terms and your posts and contributions shall be governed and interpreted in accordance with the laws of Switzerland (without giving effect to conflict of laws principles thereof) and any dispute exclusively settled by the Courts of the Canton of Geneva.

     

     
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