COVID-19: G20 Health Ministers

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COVID-19: G20 Health Ministers

Joint Statement – G20 Joint Finance & Health Ministers Meeting
17 September 2020
Our urgent collective priority is to overcome the COVID-19 pandemic and alleviate its health, social and economic impacts. We continue to act upon our Leaders’ commitments made at their extraordinary summit on 26 March 2020, and the progress achieved since. We will continue to use all available policy tools to safeguard people’s lives, jobs and incomes, support the global economic recovery, and enhance the resilience of health and financial systems, while safeguarding against downside risks.

We recognize the positive impact of investment in health system strengthening on economic resilience and growth, both in overcoming the current crisis and in the long term. We remain committed to investing in an effective response to the COVID-19 pandemic to bring the spread of the virus under control and prevent further transmission; thereby minimizing the economic and social disruption while reinforcing our support for returning to strong, sustainable, balanced, and inclusive growth.

We have mobilized resources to address the financing needs in global health to support the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic, and encourage joint efforts including further voluntary contributions to relevant initiatives, organizations and financing platforms. We emphasize the need for a global response and the importance of taking forward our collective action to accelerate the research, development, manufacturing and distribution of COVID-19 diagnostics, therapeutics and vaccines, including through the Access to COVID-19 Tools Accelerator (ACT-A) initiative and its COVAX facility and voluntary licensing of intellectual property, with the aim of supporting equitable and affordable access for all, which is key to overcoming the pandemic and supporting global economic recovery. We note that further actions are needed to address the financing needs. We ask Multilateral Development Banks (MDBs) to swiftly consider ways to strengthen the financial support for countries’ access to COVID-19 tools. We recognize the role of extensive immunization against COVID-19 as a global public good for health in preventing, containing, and stopping transmission.

We continue to take collective action as a part of the G20 Action Plan – Supporting the Global Economy through the COVID-19 Pandemic. We reiterate our commitment to respond promptly to the evolving health and socio-economic situations and drive forward international economic cooperation as we navigate this crisis and look ahead to a strong, sustainable, balanced and inclusive global economic recovery. We will reflect the outcomes of today’s meeting in the updated G20 Action Plan that will be presented at the G20 Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors’ meeting in October 2020 and to the G20 Leaders’ Summit in November 2020. We call on International Organizations (IOs), notably the IMF and OECD, to continue to integrate available pandemic data in elaborating different scenarios as for the economic impact of the health crisis going forward.

We take note of the assessment of gaps in pandemic preparedness that the World Health Organization (WHO) undertook in cooperation with relevant international organizations as requested by G20 Leaders in March 2020. We look forward to the work of the Independent Panel for Pandemic Preparedness and Response (IPPR) on evaluating the global health response to the COVID-19 pandemic as outlined in the World Health Assembly (WHA) Resolution on COVID-19. We acknowledge the important role of the United Nations’ system and agencies, including the WHO, while considering the ongoing evaluations and the need to strengthen its overall effectiveness, in coordinating and supporting the global response to the COVID-19 pandemic and the central efforts of Member States therein, as outlined in the World Health Assembly (WHA) Resolution on COVID-19. We recognize that the COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted the need to strengthen health systems and has shown vulnerabilities in the international community’s ability to prevent, detect and respond effectively to pandemic threats. This reinforces the need to deliver on commitments to strengthen health systems, particularly enhancing preparedness, prevention, detection and response capacities.

We will intensify our efforts to support pandemic surveillance and epidemic intelligence, strengthen health system capabilities, and support platforms to accelerate research and development, to proactively identify and address new and reemerging infectious pathogens. We reaffirm our commitment to full compliance with the International Health Regulations (IHR 2005), to improve their implementation and to the continued sharing of timely, transparent and standardized data and information including on health measures and the effectiveness of non-pharmaceutical interventions. We encourage innovative ways of capturing and sharing user- and decision-friendly information.

We re-emphasize the importance of well-functioning, value-based, inclusive and resilient health systems that can sustain equitable and affordable access to essential and quality health services for all, especially for the poorest and most vulnerable. We reemphasize our commitment to the G20 Shared Understanding on the Importance of Universal Health Coverage (UHC) Financing in Developing Countries to improve the resilience, prevention, detection, preparedness and response of health systems through protecting and investing in public health. We recall our commitment to move towards achieving UHC and the important role of countries’ following their own paths in line with national contexts and priorities to UHC. We will continue to address the disproportionate economic and social impact of the crisis on women, young people, and the most vulnerable segments of society.

Although current measures are critical, major gaps still exist in global pandemic preparedness and response. Therefore, we will work together to lay the foundation for targeted actions to help respond to the most immediate challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic and ensure that the world is better prepared to curb the impact of future health-related crises in line with One Health Approach. This includes delivering on previous G20 commitments to tackle antimicrobial resistance. We will integrate the economic risks of pandemics, drug resistant infectious diseases, non-communicable diseases and high-impact tail risks more systematically into the G20’s global risk monitoring and preparedness. We will, with the support of relevant IOs, build on key findings, lessons learned and propose recommendations to address existing gaps in global pandemic preparedness and response ahead of the G20 Leaders’ Summit in November 2020.

 

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Wellcome Trust statements on novel coronavirus (Covid-19)
Press release | 17 September 2020
In reaction to G20 Joint Finance & Health Ministers Meeting joint statement [PDF],
Dr Jeremy Farrar, Director of Wellcome, said:

“It is encouraging to hear the G20 Finance and Health Ministers remain committed to investing in an effective response to the Covid-19 pandemic. But we’re running out of time and these warm words must urgently turn into the real investment and global leadership that is needed.
“The ACT-Accelerator urgently needs $35bn to develop and provide tests, treatments and vaccines for the world and to have the health systems to deliver them. So far, less than 10% of this been raised. $35bn is a tiny figure when compared to the trillions the world economy has already lost and will continue to lose as this pandemic continues to reverberate around the world.

“Securing this funding now will prove to be the wisest investment humanity has ever made. Putting it off will only prolong the pandemic and all its dreadful consequences. The actions leaders take today will affect how the world spends the next decade. This needs a moment of historic political and financial leadership.  Leadership that will change the world.  Leadership that will be remembered in a 100 years’ time. But we need it now through actions not words.”

 

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IFPMA Statement to G20 Health and Finance Ministers
17 September 2020
Geneva: Now more than ever, the adage “Health is Wealth” has heightened significance, with the COVID-19 pandemic highlighting the delicate and essential interdependence between public health and economic prosperity. The biopharmaceutical industry is working alongside governments worldwide to combat the burden of this unprecedented crisis, recognizing that unparalleled collaboration among all sectors of society is the only way to meet this challenge.

The stewardship of G20 Leaders is key to this coordinated global response, with a view to adopting policies that address the significant, intertwined impacts of the current pandemic while fostering preparedness to face similar threats in the future, as well as safeguarding resources for important healthcare needs beyond COVID-19. As the G20 Health and Finance Ministers meet on 17 September, we must be reminded that overcoming a global pandemic of this proportion rests on global solidarity, and a collective responsibility that calls for highly coordinated and collaborative action by public and private actors alike.

Since the start of the crisis, biopharmaceutical companies have shown their commitment to uniting in purpose by working together and to using their resources, technologies and know-how to develop medicines and vaccines. Beyond the discovery stage, industry has reiterated the importance of ensuring that these medicines and vaccines become accessible and affordable to all those who need them.

During this crisis, biopharmaceutical companies are:
Investing their scientific expertise and creating and leveraging cutting edge technologies to speed the development of safe and effective medicines and vaccines;
Conducting clinical trials to test new and existing therapies for their use in the treatment of COVID-19;
Expanding the private sector’s unique manufacturing capabilities in an unprecedented way to respond to this crisis and making at-risk investments today to scale-up manufacturing capacity in order to provide worldwide supply as quickly as possible once successful medicines and vaccines are developed;
Collaborating with government agencies, hospitals, doctors and others to donate supplies and medicines to help those affected around the world;
Working with governments, manufacturers, and payers to ensure that when new medicines and vaccines are approved, they will be available and affordable for everybody who needs them;
Ensuring that medicines and vaccines are made accessible to patients around the world by using differential pricing to account for each country’s social and economic capacities, while complying with antitrust regulations by keeping pricing policies and approaches confidential;
Implementing strong contingency plans to ensure continuity of supply chains for medicines and other health products needed to respond to COVID-19;
Upholding the highest standards of ethics and business integrity to improve patient care; and,
Continuing to support the broader healthcare ecosystem and infrastructure to ensure resilience, efficiency, and sustainability of healthcare systems.

 

As we come together in solidarity across the public and private sector, we call on the G20 to:
Support partnerships among industry, governments, civil society, international organizations, and academia to leverage the expertise and strength of each sector to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic.
View private sector as an ally and solutions partner and commit to not adopt policies and decisions that could restrict access for those in need, such as national stockpiling, or ultimately hamper innovation and research and development.
Strengthen dialogue among industry, governments, citizens, and regional and international procurement agencies to safeguard the continuity of immunization services during the COVID-19 pandemic and prevent the resurgence of outbreak-prone vaccine-preventable diseases such as measles.
Refrain from constraining prevention budgets for communicable and non-communicable diseases and enhance the resilience of health systems in the COVID-19 recovery phase with longer-term investment in preventative interventions across the life-course.
Refrain from imposing trade or other policy restrictions, and work in concert in a spirit of solidarity to minimize trade disruption in medicines, vaccines, and their component parts, essential medical products, data and other goods or services needed to respond to this crisis.
Encourage national regulatory agency collaboration and use of reliance approaches and regulatory agility for an effective and efficient response to COVID-19, as well as for the continued research, development and supply of essential medicines and vaccines.
Ensure the highest standards of ethics and business integrity are preserved throughout and following the crisis in close coordination with the entire biopharmaceutical industry as well as the broader G20 business community, including in such areas as procurement, customs, and donations.
Identify ways to work with the broader healthcare ecosystem and infrastructure to ensure resilience, efficiency, coordination, and sustainability of healthcare systems, so that scarce resources can continue to be allocated to what most matters to patients and society in a manner which maintains and builds public trust and confidence in healthcare systems.
Continue to foster a policy environment which promotes research and development and effective intellectual property protection, gives impetus to innovations and advances in health, as well as incentivizes stakeholders to undertake risky investments into the discovery of new products.
Recognize that intellectual property has enabled several medicines and vaccines currently being tested for additional use in the fight against the COVID-19 virus and has not been an impediment to the common goal of ending this pandemic.
In view of other emerging global health threats, publish national roadmaps for the development and implementation of new economic incentives and market reforms for antibiotics over the next five years and report progress annually at G20 summits, to attract sustainable and robust investment into AMR R&D. These reforms need to properly reflect the full benefits these medicines bring to the world at large and ensure society has access to treatments for accelerating bacterial resistance.

While our focus is on COVID-19 today, the biopharmaceutical industry looks to the G20 to pave the way to a future where health systems are resilient; where partnership across public and private actors is leveraged to highlight the expertise of each sector; and where investment in health is recognized as an essential component of the sustainability of economies and societies.