The Health Impact Fund: Better Pharmaceutical Innovations at Much Lower Prices
INCENTIVES FOR GLOBAL PUBLIC HEALTH: PATENT LAW AND ACCESS TO MEDICINES, Thomas Pogge, Matthew Rimmer, and Kim Rubenstein, (eds.), Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2010
26 Pages Posted: 9 Jul 2009
Date Written: July 7, 2009
Thomas Pogge contends that pricing advanced medicines beyond the reach of the poor and encouraging neglect of diseases concentrated among them, the TRIPS Agreement is responsible for avoidable death and disease on a massive scale. Pharmaceutical patents as globalised through the TRIPS Agreement cannot be defended by appeal to natural rights. Nor can they be justified in terms of mutual benefit or usefulness, because the global poor are deprived of their freedom to buy medicines at competitive prices yet often cannot benefit from the enhanced arsenal of advanced medicines. One way of mitigating the injustice involves creation of the Health Impact Fund (HIF), an international agency that would provide a standing option to register any new medicine for health impact rewards. By registering, a firm would agree to sell its product globally at a price fixed by the HIF at the lowest feasible cost of production and distribution. In exchange, the firm would receive for a fixed time payments based on this product’s assessed global health impact. If adequately funded, the HIF would serve as a complement to the patent regime by alleviating its deficiencies. In particular, the HIF would generate a stream of pharmaceutical innovations that would be cheaply available to all and would end the systemic research neglect of diseases concentrated among the poor.
Keywords: The Health Impact Fund, Patent Law, Access to Essential Medicines, the TRIPS Agreement, Philosophy, Justice
JEL Classification: 034, I11
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation