Almost 60 high-level participants joined this interactive discussion, including CEOs, experts involved in developing and/or producing medicines, policymakers from government, representatives from non-profit implementing organisations, and regulators. Several leading manufacturers based in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs) were also in attendance, and articulated their readiness to join forces to address the problem of access and build health system resilience to withstand future shocks.
The participants considered the evolving role of generics and biosimilars manufacturers and partners in ensuring the equitable supply of essential medicines in LMICs.
As explored in more detail in the meeting report, participants shared insights and solutions related to these key topics:
Expanding the local manufacturing pool: establishing resilience; meeting future demand; investing in domestic markets; voluntary licensing; technology transfers; and harmonisation of regulation.
Building domestic health system and regulatory capacity: regional harmonisation; regulatory pathways in LMICs; legal and regulatory preparedness for future pandemics and global emergencies; and building capacity by training healthcare professionals and inspectors – particularly in the biosimilars sector.
Ensuring equitable access to quality assured products: prioritising access to medicine; strengthening regulatory systems and quality assurance regimes to tackle low-quality, falsified or substandard medicines; and ensuring that quality – not just price – is central to tendering decisions.
Increasing political willpower: seeking a global solution tailored to local needs; and the need for parliamentarians from different countries to advocate for better access.
Action vs. ideology: how to translate ideological commitments to equity into equitable market-based solutions built to last; how to deploy tactical solutions (e.g. coordinated and pooled procurement, tech transfer) systematically and intentionally.
Calls to action
Participants emphasised the need for action now, rather than later. Based on this discussion, the co-hosts of the event – the Access to Medicine Foundation and the World Economic Forum – have identified priorities for action by major stakeholders in public health, including:
Public sector stakeholders (government, policymakers, civil society, and non-governmental agencies)
Private sector stakeholders, particularly manufacturers
Investors and donors
Specific calls-to-action for each stakeholder are included in the full meeting report.
The Generic & Biosimilar Medicines Programme
Insights from the discussion will be used to inform the Access to Medicine Foundation's Generic & Biosimilar Medicines Programme, which seeks to stimulate and guide generic and biosimilar medicine manufacturers to expand access to their products in LMICs. As part of this programme, the Foundation has previously convened a workshop, and has created a first-of-its-kind analytical framework to evaluate companies.
Later in 2023, the Foundation will publish a first analysis – carried out using this analytical framework – of how five of the leading generic and biosimilar medicine manufacturers are leveraging their know-how, broad manufacturing footprint and technical expertise to make their products more available, accessible, and affordable in LMICs.