IFPMA Covid-19 Günlük Bülteni – 31 Mart


Top news:

  • The number of confirmed cases of coronavirus infection around the world has passed 800,000, with more than 38,000 deaths, according to the tally kept by Johns Hopkins university.
  • Drugmakers face calls to give up their patent rights for potentially life-saving treatments and vaccines for coronavirus as authorities worldwide race to curb the pandemic’s death toll – in the Netherlands, civil society organisations called on ministers to support Costa Rica’s proposal of a global pooling mechanism.
  • The coronavirus pandemic’s economic fallout could cause China’s growth to come to a standstill while driving 11 million more people in East Asia into poverty, according to the World Bank
  • Trade ministers from G-20 governments pledged to increase the flow of vital medical products amid the coronavirus pandemic, but stopped short of denouncing export restrictions.


IFPMA members

  • France 24: French watchdog warns of dangerous side effects of unproven COVID-19 treatments. France’s drug safety agency warned on Monday of potentially serious side effects of treatments being tested against the new coronavirus after the deaths of three people possibly linked to self-medication.  Another two dozen patients have reported undesirable side effects after taking Plaquenil – the brand name of hydroxychloroquine – as well as other medicines such as the antiretroviral Kaletra, the agency’s head Dominique Martin told AFP.


  • The Guardian: Oxford firm to screen 15,000 drugs in search for coronavirus cure. An Oxford-based firm, Exscientia, that uses artificial intelligence to develop new medicines has teamed up with a UK national science facility to screen more than 15,000 drugs for their effectiveness as a treatment for Covid-19.
  • CEPI: Developing Covid-19 Vaccines at Pandemic Speed. A global financing system that supports end-to-end development and large-scale manufacturing and deployment, ensures fair allocation, and protects private-sector partners from significant financial losses will be a critical component of future pandemic preparedness.
  • Bloomberg: Century-Old Vaccine Investigated as a Weapon Against Coronavirus. A vaccine that’s been used to prevent tuberculosis is being given to health-care workers in Melbourne to see if it will protect them against the coronavirus.
  • Bloomberg: A Coronavirus Vaccine in 18 Months? Experts Urge Reality Check. In the long run, an effective vaccine will likely arrive on top of therapies, but it may be intervention measures that defeat the coronavirus, said Andrew Ward, a professor and virus expert at the Scripps Research Institute.
  • The Guardian: Worst-hit German district to become coronavirus ‘laboratory’. German scientists have announced what they described as a first-of-its-kind study into how coronavirus spreads and how it can be contained, using the country’s worst-hit district as a real-life laboratory. The virus has spread more widely among the 250,000 residents of Heinsberg – a district in North Rhine-Westphalia bordering the Netherlands – than anywhere else in Germany, with 1,281 confirmed infections and 34 deaths.


  • Reuters: FDA authorizes use of new two-minute test kit for coronavirus. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has authorized the emergency use of Bodysphere Inc’s test that can detect the coronavirus in nearly two minutes, the privately held company said on Tuesday.
  • STAT: Test makers are moving fast, but the coronavirus may be moving faster.  The story of U.S. diagnostic testing in this case hasn’t been a story of failure of just innovation, a strong suit of the U.S. health care system, but logistics. After the first tests reached the market, there were shortages of other chemicals, including kits for extracting the virus before a test could be run. Then, hospitals started running out nasal swabs. To make use of the surging test capacity, the U.S. is going to have to do better. And as fast as diagnostic companies have moved, it may not be fast enough.


  • Financial Times: Big drugmakers under pressure to share patents against coronavirus.  Drugmakers are facing mounting calls to give up their patent rights for potentially life-saving treatments and vaccines for coronavirus as authorities worldwide race to curb the pandemic’s death toll. IFPMA, an international lobby group for drugmakers, said the effects of the pooling proposal on the current pandemic would likely be very limited. IFPMA however said the industry had a “strong sense of responsibility” to act alongside governments and health systems worldwide. “We know we have a responsibility to find solutions and we are fully aware that with this pandemic we cannot expect to do business as usual,” said IFPMA’s Thomas Cueni.
  • WEMOS: In the Netherlands 33 civil society organisations and 20 public health experts sent an open letter to ministers Van Rijn, Kaag and Wiebes calling on them to support the proposal by Costa Rica for the creation of a global pooling mechanism for rights in the data, knowledge and technologies useful in the prevention, detection and treatment of the coronavirus/COVID-19 pandemic.


  • Al-Monitor: Saudi Arabia says it will pay for coronavirus patients’ treatment. As Saudi Arabia scrambles to contain its coronavirus outbreak, its health minister said Monday the government will pay for the treatment of anyone in the country who is diagnosed with COVID-19.
  • Pharmaphorum: Equal coronavirus vaccine access a “real issue”. Though several pharma companies are rushing to produce a vaccine for the coronavirus causing the COVID-19 pandemic, aided by expedited regulatory processes, questions still remain over how countries will ensure widespread access to the inoculation.




  • POLITICO: G-20 calls for open trade, sort of. Trade ministers from G-20 governments pledged to increase the flow of vital medical products amid the coronavirus pandemic, but stopped short of denouncing export restrictions. Top trade officials said in a joint statement that they “will take immediate necessary measures to facilitate trade in those essential goods.” They also promised, similar to a G-20 leaders’ statement last week, that any emergency measures to restrict trade in medical goods “must be targeted, proportionate, transparent, and temporary.”
  • Aljazeera: Iran receives European medical gear amid coronavirus crisis. European countries have delivered medical supplies to Iran in the first transaction under the INSTEX mechanism set up to bypass US sanctions on Tehran, according to the German foreign ministry.
  • EUHA: University hospitals urgently call for more European collaboration to prevent drug shortages. The European University Hospital Alliance (EUHA), already called upon national governments and the EU to keep borders open for the supply of medical goods earlier this month. We now, and even more urgently, call upon our regional, national and the European authorities to intensify collaboration and coordination for the supply of medical goods and in particular for the supply of essential drugs for intensive care patients.


  • France 24: Millions enter lockdown in Nigeria, Zimbabwe, as Africa steps up virus fight.
  • Bloomberg: South Africa Plans Mass Screening to Tackle Coronavirus. South Africa will roll out a mass screening program for the coronavirus and dispatch about 10,000 field workers to check up on people in their homes, the first country in sub-Saharan Africa to do so.
  • The Africa Report: Coronavirus in Africa: opportunity to reshape development. COVID-19 is a major global crisis that is exposing the lack of resilience of an increasingly highly connected world, and it is certainly not going to be the last. But can it be an opportunity to rethink development and what governments stand for, rather than simply fixing market failures when they arise? Can it be an opportunity to shift towards actively shaping and creating markets that deliver sustainable and inclusive growth?
  • WEF: Why Sub-Saharan Africa needs a unique response to COVID-19. The African context is unique. There are population structure differences, high prevalence of endemic diseases and the double burden of disease, with health systems that are stretched thin with minimal critical care capacity. A robust COVID-19 response for the continent will need to take these factors into account and include community engagement, health leadership, and involvement of youth and religious leaders to drive containment. At the health system level, temporary repurposing and reorganizing of the surgical system will be key to increasing critical care capacity during the response, focusing on what we have as we move forward.