Saturday, April 23, 2011

Making high impact drugs cheap from day one!

With TRIPs already wrecking havoc on availability of life savings drugs to the poor. Health Impact Fund, came up with fresh ideas of providing incentives for drug companies to open up their "new" drugs at a much lower price. Here is how it works--

Pharmaceutical innovator voluntarily agree to register his new drug with HIF. In doing so, the drug will be available at low cost to match cost of production and distribution. This will enable poor folks (and rich folks) to be able to purchase new high impact drugs at a low price. In return, HIF will offer annual reward to the innovator depending on the impact of the drug. After ten years, the innovator is obliged to allow generic production of his drug for free.

This is by far the freshest idea to solve the access to medicine problem, and in a spirit of public-private partnership, this should be embraced by most of the players in Global Health. However, impact measurement will be relying on Quality Adjusted Life Years, which will be notorious difficult to measure in remotest of areas. Data mapping disease burden geographically will also be helpful in measuring the impact, but not sufficient enough. Impact measurement is an area of concern for me because it is the only predictor of whether to innovate or not--and low income countries have the weakest health information systems which means low quality of data.

HIF will have huge impact on neglected diseases, because currently innovators have absolutely no incentives to research for new drugs, and this is the area where big impact will be felt. However in non-communicable diseases, it is hard to see high profitable cholesterol drugs registering with HIF. Poor folks will have to survive few more heart attacks before the generic versions are available. You can read rigorous skeptics of HIF here

And the video of Prof Pogge of Yale, who is the co-champion of this idea.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Great idea!