Health ministers of the G20 countries have been urged by representatives of the international pharmaceutical industry to protect intellectual property (IP), to enable technology transfers and voluntary collaborations, among other things.

In a joint open letter, three organisations including the International Federation of Pharmaceutical Manufacturers and Associations (IFPMA) have called on health ministers of these countries to “preserve health innovation enablers” like the intellectual property framework, for example, in their policies and programs worldwide. The submission comes against the backdrop of the Second G20 Health Working Group meeting this week at Brasilia.

The IP enablers “underpin legal security to enhance the potential for increased trade, investments and voluntary collaborations, including technology transferin G20 countries,” said the joint letter from IFPMA, US-based nutritional supplements company Interfarma, and FIFARMA (the Latin American Federation of the pharmaceutical industry).

The Covid-19 pandemic period had seen several voluntary licensing deals and technology transfers formalised between innovator and other companies. But it had also laid bare the inequities of vaccine distribution, besides witnessing calls for IP waivers on vaccines and treatments to tackle Covid-19, from countries including India.


The joint letter, meanwhile, outlined 11 proposals to complement governments’ agenda, including a prevention-first strategy, recognising the value of adult immunisation programmes, supported by sustainable budget allocations. It also called for the harmonisation and convergence of international regulatory requirements, among other things.

Addressing access concerns, the letter said, in March 2024, the global biopharmaceutical industry developed a set of commitments for equitable access to medical countermeasures in case of future pandemics. The statement signed by trade associations representing industry on a global level and developing countries, supported the creation of a broad multi-stakeholder partnership for equitable access. This in fact, built on the July 2022 Berlin Declaration that had proposed a framework for the delivery of vaccines and treatments to priority populations during future pandemics, it added.

Future challenges

Pointing to the 50th anniversary of the Essential Programme of Immunization (2024), the letter said, it helped reduce child mortality by 80 percent and save over a billion lives. The milestones of this campaign were eradication of smallpox and development of vaccines for diseases like measles, mumps, rubella, and hepatitis, for example – but there is also the renewed ambition on polio and vaccines against HPV and malaria, it said. Other challenges included the triple concerns of Covid-19, influenza, and RSV, besides other vaccine-preventable diseases, and health concerns arising from climate change and anti-microbial resistance, the letter added.