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Dr. LEE Jong-wook, 22 May 2006.

The Council, Bureau, and Executive Committee of the International Pharmaceutical Federation (FIP) would like to extend the most sincere condolences to the family, friends, and mutual colleagues of Dr. LEE Jong-wook, Director General of the World Health Organisation, who passed away suddenly on the morning of May 22, 2006 after a short illness. Dr. Lee was 61 years old and is survived by his wife, son, two brothers and a sister and their families.

Dr. Lee began his term as Director General of WHO on 21 July, 2003, after a 20 year career within the Organisation. He was the first UN agency head from the Republic of Korea and brought to his post not only a vast intellect and wit, both often employed to ease situations in professional and social atmospheres, but also an unfaltering dedication to the improvement of global health.

An advocate for all, Dr. Lee was a man to not only tackle global healthcare issues but add relevance and perspective to achieving goals. With respect to “universal access” and the fight against HIV/AIDS, he is quoted as saying “A key outcome of the ‘3 x 5’ was the commitment to universal access to treatment by 2010. But what does universal access mean? To me, this means that no one should die because they can’t get drugs.” His thumb was constantly on the pulse of new global health threats, yet he continually upheld his commitment to carrying out long term WHO objectives through communication and collaboration with all stakeholders, including those individuals in the direst of situations, and in most need of care.

FIP, a long standing supporter of the “3 x 5” initiative and its encompassing concept of universal access to affordable, quality medicines and treatment, is committed to continuing the advocacy work initiated by Dr. Lee in the fight against HIV/AIDS.

Kofi Annan, UN Secretary General, was on Monday quoted as saying “The world has lost a great man today…history will mark LEE Jong-wook’s many contributions to public health”; a sentiment undoubtedly shared by those fortunate to have spoken and worked with this great leader. Many within FIP have been privileged to witness his dedication to incorporating the pharmacy profession into the advancement and improvement of healthcare, and sincerely echo the statement.

Jean Parrot, FIP President

Ton Hoek, FIP Secretary General