Biopharma industry launches Berlin Declaration for ‘equitable pandemic preparedness and response’

This week, the International Federation of Pharmaceutical Manufacturers & Associations (IFPMA) announced the “Berlin Declaration” – a framework to collaborate with the G7 and G20 on a common solution for equitable access to vaccinations and treatments throughout the world in preparation for future pandemics.

“The declaration underscores the necessity for a strong innovation eco-system, grounded in intellectual property rights, and the removal of trade and regulatory barriers to export,” said a note from IFPMA. “Without robust plans to deliver pandemic vaccines, treatments and diagnostics and care to populations in all countries, attempts to improve equity will falter.”

The Berlin Declaration focuses on three priorities:

  1. “Drive innovation in advance of the next pandemic.” The biopharmaceutical industry “will build on the rapid development of innovative COVID-19 vaccines and treatments, working with regulators and other stakeholders to establish streamlined approaches to develop and deliver new quality, safe and effective vaccines and treatments even faster in the future,” says the declaration. Notably, the declaration says this requires respect for intellectual property rights as well as robust government surveillance of emerging pathogens.
  2. “Aim for faster manufacturing scale-up for high-volume global supply.” This requires “unrestricted trade and no export bans across the [vaccines, treatments, and diagnostics] supply chain and expedited processes for import and export during a pandemic…Predictable demand from lower-income countries would be important for supporting pandemic readiness.”
  3. “Plan ahead for affirmative equitable access and delivery of pandemic products.” 

BIO supports the Berlin Framework

In support of the declaration, BIO President and CEO Dr. Michelle McMurry-Heath issued the following statement:

“Scientists played a critical role in saving lives over the last two years by developing lifesaving vaccines and therapeutics to combat COVID-19.”

“Unfortunately, we know COVID will not be our last pandemic. What we do today will impact how quickly we can defeat the next health crisis.”

“The Berlin Declaration outlines ways to allow governments, industry, scientists, and key stakeholders to act quickly in the wake of health crises. Adopting these principles now will no doubt save lives in the future — especially those in underserved areas of the world — by ensuring quick and equitable distribution of innovative vaccines and therapeutic[s].”

What is critical for future pandemics?

The declaration recognizes that while innovation and manufacturing scaling achieved unprecedented success during COVID-19, inadequate financing mechanisms and a lack of country readiness prevented vaccines from reaching every arm.

“For future pandemics, it is critical to ensure countries have the technical and health infrastructure, human resources and financial capacity as well as political support to vaccinate, test and care for their populations,” the IFPMA says in the Berlin Declaration.

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