Newdelhi:6/6/23:“It is through initiatives like the Global R&D Network that we can collectively build a future where no one is left behind, and access to life-saving medical countermeasures becomes a universal reality”. This was stated by Smt S Aparna, Secretary, Dept. of Pharmaceuticals while delivering the closing remarks at the concluding session of the 3rd G20 Health Working Group Meeting, here today. She was joined by Shri Vaidya Rajesh Kotecha, Secretary, Ministry of AYUSH and Dr Rajiv Bahl, Secretary, Dept of Health Research and DG, ICMR.
Addressing the session, Smt S Aparna expressed her appreciation towards all the delegates from G20 member states, invited countries, and International Organizations for contributing their valuable insights on the establishment of a global R&D network within the Global Medical Countermeasures Platform to support Pandemic Preparedness and Response. She stated that “the discussions have helped to define the pathway for collaborative partnerships and provided us with a framework to envision the global R&D network.”
Underscoring the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the healthcare systems around the world, the Union Pharma Secretary said that “the time is now to build collaboration among nations, institutions, and stakeholders through a global R&D network that fosters innovation and accelerates research. This would be a necessary element to build the requisite agility and bench strength on a global scale to predict, prepare for and respond to future health emergencies in a robust, equitable and timely manner”.
She emphasized on “the power of collective action and partnerships in expediting research and development, as a necessary precursor to equitable distribution, and access to life-saving medical countermeasures against epidemic and endemic diseases.” “The timely deployment of appropriate countermeasures in an emergency, also relies to a large extent, on those having been developed and tested by continuous interaction with a variety of stakeholders in different locations and socio-economic situations during peace time”, she further stated
Day 3 of the HWG meeting also witnessed a panel discussion on “Envisaging a Global R&D Network for Research in VTDs to enhance PPR”. Dr. Christopher Elias, President (Global Development), Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation stated the need to unlock the power of innovation and R&D for a healthier present and future. Dr Pushpa Vijay Raghavan, Board Member, Medicines Patent Pool shared her experiences in developing manufacturing networks for therapeutics and its implications on vaccines, therapeutics and diagnostics on future pandemics. Dr. Kavita Singh, Director (South Asia), Drugs for Neglected Diseases Initiative (DNDi) highlighted the importance of partnerships for creating a global research and development network.
Dr Rajiv Bahl, Secretary elaborated on the benefits of global MCM coordination. He stated that “global VTD ecosystem of medical countermeasures coordination platform augmented with VTDs R&D and Manufacturing Networks is identified to be critical for reducing existing inequities in availability and accessibility of safe, effective, quality and affordable VTDs”.
Shri Vaidya Rajesh Kotecha highlighted the need for translational research in AYUSH to supplement the overall MCM platform. He emphasized on the need for exploration of new leads in traditional medicine, fostering collaboration and adoption of multidisciplinary approach towards ensuring cost-effective, safe and holistic healthcare.Shri Lav Agarwal, Additional Secretary, Ministry of Health and Family Welfare; Mr. Satish Reddy, Chairman, Dr Reddy’s Laboratories; Mr Pankaj Patel, Chairman, Zydus Life Sciences; representatives from the G20 member countries, special invitee countries, International Organizations, forums and partners like WHO, World Bank, WEF etc., and senior officers of the Union Government were present.