New International Pharma Industry Leader Brings Prospect Of Change23/01/2009 by William New, Intellectual Property Watch 1 CommentShare this Story:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Google+ (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to email this to a friend (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window)IP-Watch and its Global Health Policy News are non-profit independent news services and depend on subscriptions. To access all of our content, please subscribe now. You may also offer additional support with your subscription, or donate.By William New Alicia Greenidge represents a change for the global pharmaceutical and biotechnology industry, but as she grows into her role as the head of the industry’s international trade association, it is unclear whether there will be substantive changes on policy relating to intellectual property and public health. Key policy areas include counterfeit medicines and funding for research and development into diseases afflicting poor populations in ways that echo past industry approaches, but Greenidge brings a new focus on networking and negotiation.Greenidge left the US government and took over as director general of the Geneva-based International Federation of Pharmaceutical Manufacturers and Associations (IFPMA) last summer, the first woman ever to hold that position.“I was asked to do this job, I think, mainly because there was an interest on the part of industry to do more with respect to building relationships in Geneva,” Greenidge said in a recent interview with Intellectual Property Watch. “I think my own personality is a change.”She has been in Geneva for nearly 10 years with the US mission to international organisations, working with governments, international organisations, non-governmental organisations and industry on sticky negotiating issues. She said she learned how to find common agreement from having been in a position of putting forward negotiating agendas that required bridging differences with countries that “don’t necessarily agree with what this industry thought.”“I got the impression that if I were to accept this job as director general of the IFPMA, I might be able to make a difference,” she said.Industry is seeking IFPMA to improve its outreach, increase partnership activity out of Geneva, and leverage industry efforts in these areas, “appreciating overall that the R&D industry is highly important to every possible stakeholder that needs the product that this industry produces, and that without that R&D no one player can satisfy the need,” she said. “Even the generic industry relies on the R&D industry, after 20 years perhaps and after the other required periods are observed.”IFPMA has observer status at the UN Economic and Social Council (in New York) and NGO status at the World Health Organization, where it is intricately involved in policymaking activities.Greenidge spent her first months meeting and discussing with leaders and others at member companies and associations, and developed about a half-dozen key priorities for the organisation. IFPMA has five main committees addressing issues of: biologicals and vaccines; regulatory and scientific/technical affairs; healthcare systems; intellectual property and trade; and advocacy, which includes partnerships. Other issues include anti-counterfeiting and paediatric formulation, she said.Priorities are seen through the dual lens of the group’s focus on Geneva and on coordination, and include: relationship-building in Geneva, building IFPMA’s global role and perception in Geneva, partnerships in access to medicines, capacity building, quality, and R&D.The R&D work includes neglected diseases, and the group will work with governments on their responsibilities such as infrastructure, with an eye not just on getting access to medicines but a “holistic approach from a governmental and other stakeholder perspective concerning distribution, quality, supply chain issues, delivery, healthcare systems, getting health personnel involved in the process,” for instance to ensure patients are properly taking the medicines. All of this work will involve not only governments, but private funders like the Global Fund to fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, Gates Foundation, and industry, as well as intergovernmental organisations such as those in Geneva, like the WHO, WIPO, WTO and World Bank. She has met with the heads of some of these agencies, like the WHO, since taking office.“We have an important role with respect to the international governmental organisations, as we also have a role as coordinator of the global positions of the industry, and coordinating information through the various associations that span all five continents,” Greenidge said.The emphasis on quality is aimed at putting a “spotlight” on counterfeiting and drug safety, a priority in IFPMA’s work with the WHO, she said, adding that it also involves pre-qualification of medicines.Counterfeiting “is not an R&D brand company issue,” but rather cuts across all industries, cultures, and countries, Greenidge said. She raised recent cases in Canada and the United States. But, she said, “developing countries are hit the hardest because they don’t have as many mechanisms against circumventing what regulations they have,” and they lack capacity. Developing countries are speaking up more on the issue, she said.“What we have to do through IFPMA is to work with WHO and generic companies and any concerned stakeholder on the messages that have to come out of WHO from a global perspective against counterfeiting,” Greenidge said. “We have the opportunity at the Executive Board [meeting 19-27 Janurary] to come together with the key developing countries, the brand industry, the generic industry, even traditional medicines.”IFPMA this month has presented details on R&D for diseases prevalent in developing countries, a subject of negotiation also this week at the WHO Executive Board. In presentations and speeches available on the IFPMA website, it takes the position that industry is committed to helping achieve health-related UN Millennium Development Goals and addressing the dearth of research into neglected diseases. It said the industry has increased its contribution but that more funding is essential and that it cannot do it alone.Greenidge praised her predecessor, Harvey Bale, another American, who retired last year, for his work in building the organisation. But she hopes she’ll find “room for improvement,” along with the support of members and other stakeholders.She said recently re-elected IFPMA Chairman Fred Hassan, CEO of US pharmaceutical company Schering-Plough, told the recent IFPMA annual meeting that his objective is to build the industry’s perception and relationships in Geneva.“That is exactly what I was interested in when I accepted this position,” Greenidge said. “So we can do a lot.”William New may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.Share this Story:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Google+ (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to email this to a friend (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window)Related"New International Pharma Industry Leader Brings Prospect Of Change" by Intellectual Property Watch is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.