In a world characterised by the challenges of global health, the research-based pharmaceutical companies take their social responsibility very seriously and contribute in many ways to improving global health. For instance, they contribute through their research and development activities, either alone or in partnerships. Equally, many pharmaceutical companies are involved in numerous access programmes and contribute through financial and material donations, expanded capacities, knowledge and technology transfer, initial and further training, favourable pricing systems, voluntary licences or waived payments. The research-based pharmaceutical companies also contribute through the way they manage their operations, by observing the principles of Good Manufacturing Practice and ethical standards, reliably manufacturing high-quality, safe and effective medicines and vaccines, and complying with legal requirements.
The UN’s Sustainable Development Goals
The 17 global goals for sustainable development (Sustainable Development Goals; SDG) are a major international undertaking by the Member States of the United Nations to which they are committed as part of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. The SDG take a balanced view of the economic, social and ecological factors involved in sustainable development and give them a universal, global character. Replacing the Millennium Goals (2000-2015), the intention is for them to be achieved worldwide and by all UN Member States by 2030.
Switzerland made a productive contribution to developing the Sustainable Development Goals within the UN organisation and was also involved in a number of cross-cutting issues during this work.The pharmaceutical companies in Switzerland are working actively to implement the Sustainable Development Goals, particularly Goal 3 “Good health and well-being”, Goal 5 “Gender equality” and Goal 13 “Climate action”.
Multi-stakeholder initiatives and public-private partnerships
In the same way as political decisions provide impetus for the pharmaceutical industry to act, the pharmaceutical industry defines objectives that act as an incentive to the political community. Here, the major industry stakeholders are also involved at the international level, for example through participation in the UN Global Compact or by incorporating the goals into their own agenda within the umbrella association that represents all research-based pharmaceutical companies (IFPMA). Under the motto of “tackling global health challenges”, the global pharmaceutical companies are facing up to the major health challenges of our time. The Interpharma members are involved in a large number of collaboration projects focusing on disease control and public health.
Multi-stakeholder initiatives and public-private partnerships (PPP) are an efficient and effective way of improving the health of the population and access to high-quality medicine. In public-private partnerships, government institutions or non-governmental organisations and foundations cooperate with academic research groups and research-based pharmaceutical companies. They share the costs and the risks – and also the utilisation rights to the medicinal products developed in this way. Many research-based pharmaceutical companies are also involved in projects to manufacture medicines and vaccines for the diseases in developing countries that the WHO has deemed to be priorities.
The Industry Collaboration to End HIV, Tuberculosis and Malaria initiated by IFPMA is one example of a cross-industry initiative. Against the background of growing resistance to medicinal products, its aim is to intensify research efforts in these critical therapeutic areas and to create stronger healthcare systems through holistic approaches.