Incentivizing access and innovation for essential medicines: A survey of the problem and proposed solutions

Public Health Ethics 1 (2):110-123 (2008)
Michael Ravvin, Department of Political Science, Columbia University, 420 W. 118th Street, New York, NY 10027 Email: mer2133{at} ' + u + '@' + d + ' '//--> Abstract The existing intellectual property regime discourages the innovation of, and access to, essential medicines for the poor in developing countries. A successful proposal to reform the existing system must address these challenges of access and innovation. This essay will survey the problems in the existing pharmaceutical patent system and offer critical analysis of some reform proposals. I will argue that existing mechanisms that are intended to mitigate the harms of the current pharmaceutical patent system, such as bulk buying, differential pricing and compulsory licenses, are inadequate and perhaps even counter-productive over the long-term. Other incentive mechanisms based on push funding, such as government research grants, are inefficient and limited in scope. Pull mechanisms, which offer some reward for successful pharmaceutical innovations, offer a more promising incentive mechanism. I will evaluate three pull mechanisms -- Priority Review Vouchers, Advance Market Commitment (AMC) and the Health Impact Fund -- on the basis of their capacity to incentivize access and innovation, as well as their efficiency and political feasibility. Though the Health Impact Fund appears to be the most promising proposal, more work must be done to overcome challenges of its implementation. CiteULike Connotea What's this?
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DOI 10.1093/phe/phn017
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