PREPARING SOCIETY AGAINST FUTURE PANDEMICS :: Policy Perspectives from the Innovative Biopharmaceutical Industry

PREPARING SOCIETY AGAINST FUTURE PANDEMICS :: Policy Perspectives from the Innovative Biopharmaceutical Industry
IFPMA – October 2021 :: 21 pages
PDF: https://www.ifpma.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/10/IFPMA_Preparing_society_against_future_pandemics_Full_Report.pdf

Introduction [excerpts]
Despite the many laudable actions in response to COVID-19 by individuals, institutions, governments and companies around the world, the pandemic has taken an immense toll on lives and livelihoods.

With more than 4.5 million reported deaths and 222 million infections worldwide,1 and economic costs estimated at over US$4 trillion of lost output,2 this is the greatest public health crisis in a century. We can be certain that there will be future pandemics, fanned by both climate change and globalization. There is wide agreement that the world needs to be much better prepared for the next pandemic. Learning and applying the lessons from the continuing COVID-19 pandemic, as well as from other recent infectious disease outbreaks and epidemics, will be pivotal to this work.

Improving preparedness for future disease outbreaks with epidemic and pandemic potential is not a new idea; significant debate followed previous outbreaks such as the H1N1 influenza A virus, SARS (Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome), Ebola and Zika. While some concrete actions were taken, it became clear during the COVID-19 pandemic that few were prepared for the scope and scale of response required. Governments, healthcare systems, multilateral organizations, regulators and other stakeholders have had to take unprecedented action to catch up with the pandemic and have been hindered in most cases by the lack of robust or adequately tested plans, pre-established structures, resources or processes, including at the global level. Despite the current strong political consensus to take action now, establishing the long-term, comprehensive and sustainable system needed to address an array of potential disease threats is a daunting challenge entailing substantial cost. The overall public financial investment required has been recently estimated at US$15 billion a year.3…

The biopharmaceutical industry is committed to playing its part in further improving pandemic preparedness. Our vision for future pandemic preparedness is based on two ambitious objectives:

 

1 Aim to develop effective and safe pandemic products within 100 days of a new pandemic declaration.

2 Collaborate with governments, multilateral organizations, regulators, and other companies and sectors to ensure equitable access to those products for people worldwide.

Fundamental to achieving both objectives is sufficient, sustained public funding and human capital to support the continuum from discovery and development to deployment at scale. Effective governance and clear institutional roles and responsibilities remain of paramount importance.

We describe below some of the critical lessons we have learned so far in tackling COVID-19 and make a series of proposals for steps the industry and other stakeholders need to take for future pandemic preparedness. We look forward to working closely with all concerned stakeholders to protect the world against future pandemics…

Media Release
Bolstering action against future pandemics: pharma policy perspectives on delivering medical countermeasures
25 October 2021
:: Future pandemic preparedness discussions cannot and must not overshadow the need for urgent joint action to redistribute COVID-19 vaccines through COVAX and donations.
:: Planning for better pandemic preparedness requires measures to develop effective and safe pandemic products even faster to save lives and livelihoods, which requires first pathogen sharing, second, strong incentive frameworks and third, a sustainable innovation ecosystem.
:: To ensure equitable access to those products for people worldwide requires more effective collaboration with governments, multilateral organizations, regulators, and other companies and sectors.

Aiming for effective and safe pandemic products within 100 days will require pre-emptive R&D. This goal, however, cannot be achieved in the absence of a robust incentive system, built on strong and predictable IP protection. The innovative biopharmaceutical industry commits to investing in research and development (R&D) on target pathogens with epidemic and pandemic potential to build a portfolio of promising candidate vaccines, treatments and technologies. It also requires the immediate sharing of pathogens with epidemic and pandemic potential, and associated information, with no strings attached.  The innovative biopharmaceutical industry commits to ensuring the highest safety protocols for our laboratories and only to use shared samples and genetic sequence data for research purposes and for the production of vaccines, medicines and diagnostics.

The solution to vaccine equity today resides in dose sharing, continuing to optimize output through manufacturing scaling up and voluntary licensing; as well as working together to enable countries to efficiently and effectively vaccinate their people. For future pandemics, it is imperative to continue building on what has worked well: the pivotal role of a strong innovation ecosystem and a strengthened, well-funded procurement system for lower-income countries. The scientific and industrial success has been nothing short of extraordinary. It is also imperative to be better prepared to ensure equitable access to pandemic products for people worldwide…