(4 April – Brussels): The European Federation of Pharmaceutical Industries and Associations, EFPIA, is pleased to have supported the Roundtable on “Health and Pharmaceutical; promoting growth, innovation and access to healthcare and pharmaceuticals through EU-Africa Business Cooperation, including local production of generic medicines in Africa”. Taking place during this week’s EU-Africa Business Summit, the Roundtable brought together diverse participants from the healthcare and pharmaceutical industries to discuss and determine recommendations aimed to improve healthcare in Africa. The conclusions of the Roundtable were summarised in a series of recommendations that have been presented to the heads of states EU-Africa Summit.

The EU-Africa Business Summit offered an opportunity to discuss the role of different stakeholders and how they can collaborate more effectively in both Europe and emerging economies. Representatives from the healthcare and pharmaceutical sectors included: Dr. Francois Bompart, VP Deputy Head & Medical Director for Access to Medicines at Sanofi, and Chair of EFPIA’s Global Health Initiative; Nick Haggar, President, Head of Western Europe, Middle-East & Africa at Sandoz; and Margaret Ndomondo-Sigonda, Pharmaceutical Coordinator, NEPAD Planning and coordinating Agency: African Medicines Regulatory Harmonization Initiative.

EFPIA Director General Richard Bergstrom stated: “I am pleased to see my member companies, and industry as a whole, investing more in Africa. We need constructive partnerships in which both the public and private sector are fully engaged. A constructive dialogue with key stakeholders from both continents is a must if we want to equip Africa with the means to help built its own more prosperous future. As the source of new and improved medicines, the research-based pharmaceutical industry has a responsibility engage in the dialogue surrounding global health issues – after all, our medicines serve patients around the world, not just in Europe. The discussion of this past week is a good starting point, but it’s only the beginning – there is more to be done.”

The full recommendations from the pharmaceutical and healthcare stakeholders are available on the EFPIA website. Key recommendations include:

  • An AU – EU political commitment at the summit to take immediate action, in coordination with WHO, to ban substandard medicines causing health risks;
  • All government criminalizing counterfeiting of medicines, by e.g. implementing national and regional laws or sign the MEDICRIME Convention;
  • Increase EU-African collaboration on universal health coverage alongside those countries that mobilized resources towards the Abuja commitment of 15% of her national budget for health.

Following the Roundtable, EFPIA hosted an EU-Africa debate on non-communicable diseases, under the patronage of Rebecca Taylor MEP. The debate featured speakers from the NCD Alliance, the International Association of Patient Organisations and the European Pharmaceutical Industry. The outcomes of the debate will be published on the EFPIA website and addressed the role of companies in building integrated care systems and the challenges of improving health literacy in an emerging economy. This is a continuation of previous debates held as part of EFPIA’s Global Health Initiative.  

In the same week, GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) announced plans to make a series of research and manufacturing investments in sub-Saharan Africa, including open source research projects targeting Non-Communicable Diseases. The company will invest up to £130m in its manufacturing presence in the region over the next five years.