APEC plan gains C-suite accolades

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The CEOs of Johnson and Johnson and Eli Lilly and Company are among those praising the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) forum for its progress in addressing Non-Communicable Diseases (NCDs) and regulatory convergence, both components of a six-point “Action Plan” for stimulating economic growth by making better health a priority.

The Action Plan was presented by leaders from Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA), the Advanced Medical Technology Association (AdvaMed) and the Biotechnology Industry Organization (BIO) at last week's APEC Summit in Hawaii. The plan asks government and business in APEC economies to take six critical and specific steps to improve health and economic growth in the region:

• Redefine Health: Recognize health is not just a social good, but as a source of sustainable economic growth and competitive advantage that can help jump start languishing economies.

• Encourage Innovation: Create conditions that foster the right kinds of innovation for APEC economies – from high tech marvels to low cost solutions.

• Reduce Regulatory Burdens: Reduce regulatory complexity and harmonize regulation across economies so health innovations get to people sooner and with less cost.

• Transparency: Make health care reform a more transparent process across economies, enabling the best ideas to compete openly.

• Compliance and Anti-corruption: Reduce cost in the system by enhancing compliance with high ethical standards and reducing opportunities for corruption.

• Free Trade: Expand free trade across the region and social partnerships that sustainably meet the needs of the region's people.

William C. Weldon, chairman and CEO, Johnson & Johnson, commended the APEC plan to reduce the economic burden of non-communicable diseases (NCDs), a set of principles which will guide APEC economies as they implement new programs and initiatives to prevent and mitigate the economic impact of rising rates of chronic disease.

“We urge the APEC economies to implement the ideas contained in the NCD action plan, which will help reduce the economic burden of non-communicable, chronic, disease,” said Weldon. “This work will take the leadership of the APEC governments, NGO's, and the private sector. Industry is ready to play a role through public-private partnerships and other approaches.”

John C. Lechleiter, PhD, chairman, president, and CEO, Eli Lilly and Company, applauded the efforts of APEC members for approving a landmark strategic framework to achieve regulatory convergence of medical products by the year 2020. Regulatory convergence is a process whereby regulatory requirements across economies become more similar or aligned over time as a result of the gradual adoption of internationally recognized standards and procedures. Convergence will ultimately ensure more timely access by patients to medical products and advances in public health.

“APEC is to be congratulated on the endorsement of the strategic framework to achieve regulatory convergence of medical products by the year 2020,” said Lechleiter. “This is a landmark achievement. I don't know of any other intergovernmental organization of this nature where regulators have come together with the private sector to work on aligning regulatory systems in this way.”

Both leaders encouraged APEC to continue working with the private sector and non-governmental stakeholders on building capacity within APEC economies to ensure achievement of the regulatory goal by 2020. The Government of Canada was recognized for leading the initiative, which will generate benefits for the entire APEC region, including Australia, China, Japan, and the United States.

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