IFPMA Statement on Appointment of Dr Tedros as Director-General of the World Health Organization

Published on: 23 May 2017

The International Federation of Pharmaceutical Manufacturers and Associations (IFPMA) congratulates Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus on his election as Director-General of the World Health Organization. His appointment is a reflection of Dr  Tedros wide-ranging experience in health policy and practice and his qualities of leadership.

Thomas Cueni, IFPMA Director General upon the election of Dr Tedros said “I am looking forward to meeting Dr Tedros on his assumption of office. I am sure we will find common ground on the fact that much progress has been made to improve global health, but more still needs to be done. Today, WHO leadership and coordination is ever more crucial to ensure continued effective prioritization and response in an increasingly complex health landscape”. Cueni added “As the voice of the pharmaceutical industry in official relations with the UN, IFPMA remains fully committed to playing an active role in the fight against the burden of disease and greatly look forward to supporting the WHO’s efforts. IFPMA is ready to share our industry’s know-how on what it takes to develop new medicines and vaccines; and experience of supply chains to better understand the access challenges from lab to patient”.

Innovation plays a major role in meeting these challenges in both the creation of new technologies and health system design and operation. Innovation continues to evolve and IFPMA’s research-based biopharmaceutical industry members have long realized that it can no longer take place in a silo – there is a need for creative collaborations, where information, knowledge and expertise can be shared between a variety of different actors, including from the public and private sectors. IFPMA acknowledges that the need for “healthy” exchanges with WHO, respectful of its status, and it trusts the new Director-General will share IFPMA’s vision that a solutions-focused approach is needed to deliver on our shared objective for improved health outcomes.

As recognized by world leaders and the UN General Assembly, the private sector has an important role to play in helping achieve the UN Sustainable Development Goals and the pharmaceutical industry can and is making a contribution to achieving the global health goals in partnership with other sectors; with over 300 health partnerships involving multiple governments, NGOs and academics, as well as novel solutions such as Accelerated Access and the AMR Industry Alliance, just launched last week at the B20. IFPMA will convey to the new WHO Director-General that they look forward to continuing and strengthening our longstanding history of collaboration with the WHO (for example on influenza preparedness) and support to its normative function, particularly through the provision of our broad scientific and technical expertise. Where possible and relevant IFPMA will support Dr Tedros to ensure the WHO is fit for purpose and appropriately funded as old and emerging health challenges.


IFPMA represents research-based pharmaceutical companies and associations across the globe. The research-based pharmaceutical industry’s 2 million employees research, develop, and deliver medicines and vaccines that improve the life of patients worldwide. Based in Geneva, IFPMA has official relations with the United Nations and contributes industry expertise to help the global health community find solutions that improve global health. IFPMA advocates policies and practices that encourage the discovery of and access to life-saving and life-enhancing medicines and vaccines, for people everywhere.

For further information, please contact

Morgane De Pol, IFPMA
Email: m.depol@ifpma.org
Tel: +41 22 338 32 20

Sadia Kaenzig, IFPMA
Email: s.kaenzig@ifpma.org
Tel: +41 22 338 32 49