Lobbying International Health : the International Federation of Pharmaceutical Manufacturers and Associations (1966-1971).

In 1966, leaders of business associations of the pharmaceutical industry of the European Community, of the European Free Trade Association (EFTA), Canada and the United States started to organize themselves internationally and founded, in 1968, the International Federation of Pharmaceutical Manufacturers and Associations (IFPMA). Their main objective was to influence international health policies developed within the UN bodies. The IFPMA headquarters were first based in the city of Zurich in Switzerland before they were moved, in 1984, to the city of Geneva. This particular strategy of the pharmaceutical industry was successful in 1971, when the World Health Organization (WHO) granted the IFPMA’s request to be recognized as a non-governmental organization and to take part in consultation on international health policy.

Focusing on the founding period of the IFPMA, this contribution highlights two important issues. First, it aims to show that the pharmaceutical industry of the Northern countries was an industrial sector that did not only organize in response to regional issues, but also to international issues of universal access to health care arising from decolonization and the emergence of the Group of 77 in the United Nations. Second, it addresses the international co-operation of the pharmaceutical industry with regard to inequalities of wealth and access to health between the countries of the North and the countries of the South.

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