Medicines for the World: Boosting Innovation Without Obstructing Free Access
The cycle of mutually reinforcing poverty and disease can be broken by reducing or eradicating severe poverty. This can be done effectively by reforming various features of existing global institutional arrangements that — beneficial to the affluent and maintained by them—contribute greatly to the persistence of poverty. This chapter describes and justifies a complement to the existing monopoly-patent regime that would generate a flow of pharmaceutical innovation without depriving the poor of their freedom to buy new medicines at competitive market prices. There are other means for reducing the global burden of disease, such as access to safe drinking water, adequate nutrition, clean sanitation, proper hygiene, protections against disease-carrying animals, off-patent medicines, and many more. In response one might ask why the Health Impact Fund should be confined to new medicines.