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Medicines as Global Public Goods: The Governance of Technological Innovation in the New Era of Global Health


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One of the most significant changes in global health over the past decade has occurred in the framing, norms, and policy approaches to addressing the problem of globally inequitable access to drugs, diagnostics, vaccines or other health tools. This article traces the evolution over the past century of governance regimes for new product development (NPD) for health, using the case of anti-malaria tools as an illustration. There have been major shifts in conceptions about who should benefit from, and who should pay for NPD, with gradual movement away from a primarily national to an increasingly global approach. Innovative institutional arrangements, such as the "public-private product development partnerships (PDPs)," have begun to take into account the need to develop tools that are adapted for use in developing countries, and to incorporate considerations of affordability into the early stages of development. However, thus far such efforts have been limited to a small set of infectious diseases. The PDPs, as currently organized, are not likely to be the appropriate model for providing NPD to counter the rapidly rising burden in developing countries of chronic non-infectious conditions such as heart disease and mental illness. At the same time, the debate over access to HIV/AIDS drugs has contributed to global norms that frame health tools as global public goods; therefore, political mobilization to demand access to tools with significant therapeutic benefit is likely to rise. Today we are at the cusp of a new era of NPD governance: in order to meet the coming epidemiological and political challenges, innovation in the governance of NPD will be necessary, based on two key principles: 1) that tools should be adapted and accessible to a global population of end-users (as with the PDPs), and 2) that contributions to NPD, whether of human, scientific or financial capital, should be a globally-shared burden.
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Medicines as Global Public Goods: The Governance of
Technological Innovation in the New Era of Global Health
Suerie Moon
One of the most significant changes in global health over the past decade has
occurred in the framing, norms, and policy approaches to addressing the
problem of globally inequitable access to drugs, diagnostics, vaccines or other
health tools. This article traces the evolution over the past century of
governance regimes for new product development (NPD) for health, using the
case of anti-malaria tools as an illustration. There have been major shifts in
conceptions about who should benefit from, and who should pay for NPD, with
gradual movement away from a primarily national to an increasingly global
approach. Innovative institutional arrangements, such as the “public-private
product development partnerships (PDPs),” have begun to take into account the
need to develop tools that are adapted for use in developing countries, and to
incorporate considerations of affordability into the early stages of development.
However, thus far such efforts have been limited to a small set of infectious
diseases. The PDPs, as currently organized, are not likely to be the appropriate
model for providing NPD to counter the rapidly rising burden in developing
countries of chronic non-infectious conditions such as heart disease and mental
illness. At the same time, the debate over access to HIV/AIDS drugs has
contributed to global norms that frame health tools as global public goods;
therefore, political mobilization to demand access to tools with significant
therapeutic benefit is likely to rise. Today we are at the cusp of a new era of
NPD governance: in order to meet the coming epidemiological and political
challenges, innovation in the governance of NPD will be necessary, based on
two key principles: 1) that tools should be adapted and accessible to a global
population of end-users (as with the PDPs), and 2) that contributions to NPD,
whether of human, scientific or financial capital, should be a globally-shared
Around the 4th century A.D. the Chinese physician Ge Hong recorded these
instructions for curing intermittent fevers in his guidebook, Emergency
Prescriptions Kept Up One’s Sleeves: “Qinghao: one bunch, take two sheng of
water for soaking it, wring it out, take the juice, ingest it in its entirety.”1 Sixteen
centuries later during the Vietnam war, this simple text led Chinese government-
sponsored researchers to identify artemisinin as a potent drug to treat malaria,
which had become resistant in Southeast Asia to existing medicines.2 Today,
artemisinin-based combination therapies have become the gold-standard
treatment and strongest line of defense against the malaria parasite’s uncanny
ability to develop resistance to new drugs. Ge Hong’s knowledge – translated,
transferred, and developed – has now become a global public good.
One of the most significant changes in global health over the past decade
has occurred in the framing, norms, and policy approaches to addressing the
problem of globally inequitable access to drugs, diagnostics, vaccines and other
health technologies.3 The shift was catalyzed by worldwide political mobilization
regarding the rights of developing countries to access generic versions of costly,
patented antiretroviral drugs to treat HIV/AIDS.4 An important result of this
mobilization has been a shift in the framing of health tools: whereas essential
medicines had previously been understood as private goods or, at best, national
public goods, today they are increasingly understood as global public goods to
which all populations, rich or poor, should have access. Following this shift, a
range of new approaches and policy proposals is currently under debate
regarding how to stimulate innovation for health without relying on high end-
product prices that compromise access.5
The need for a reformed global health innovation system is urgent: we still
lack critical tools for preventing, diagnosing and treating many established
infectious diseases, while new threats such as SARS and pandemic influenza put
additional demands on the research community; while non-communicable
diseases are putting a rising burden on the developing world, there is no global
system to ensure that health technologies for such conditions are accessible or
adapted for use in resource-poor settings; finally, globalization has tightened the
links connecting all populations, creating both greater vulnerabilities to disease
as well as increased political demands for access to health technologies. The
economic crisis that began in late 2008 – which threatens anew the health of the
world’s poorest while simultaneously jeopardizing aid flows from the world’s
wealthy – has underlined the urgency of building economically and politically
sustainable solutions to these challenges.
The incipient era of US President Barack Obama offers both new
challenges and opportunities for progress. Major reform of the US healthcare
system is high on the new administration’s agenda, and is likely to affect not only
Americans but all populations touched by a global research system that relies on
major push funding from the US National Institutes for Health (NIH) and pull
funding from the US patent system. In particular, a medical research &
development (R&D) system that continues to rely on high drug prices in the US
appears politically untenable. Furthermore, US approaches to trade and health
can either accelerate or retard progress towards improved international
arrangements for sharing the costs and benefits of health R&D. President
Obama’s multilateral approach to global governance, which contrasts sharply
with his immediate predecessor’s unilateral bent, has engendered optimism
regarding the possibility of constructing a more equitable global health
innovation system. However, early mixed signals from his Administration
suggest this optimism may be misplaced. For example, the 2009 US Trade
Representative’s Special 301 report on intellectual property protection warned
developing countries such as Thailand and Brazil that their efforts to access
lower-cost generic medicines to address public health crises could lead to trade
retaliation.6 Just a week later, Obama asked Congress for $63 billion over six
years for global health spending,7 appearing to offer with one hand what the
other threatened to take away. The US can ill-afford to take such inconsistent
policies towards trade and global health8 – as the recent swine flu pandemic
amply illustrated, the health of all nations is intimately interconnected and
depends in part on the health of each nation.9
At this juncture of crisis and opportunity, it is worthwhile to look back at
the historical processes that have led to the current health innovation system, as
well as to consider the principles that ought to guide future efforts. This article
traces the evolution over the past century of governance arrangements for new
product development (NPD), using the case of anti-malaria tools such as drugs,
vaccines, bednets, and insecticides, as an illustration. For the sake of brevity, I
refer to these products generally as “health tools” for the remainder of this article.
There have been major shifts in conceptions about who should benefit
from and who should pay for the development of new tools, with gradual
movement away from a primarily narrow national approach that focused
primarily on the industrialized countries, to an increasingly inclusive global
approach that includes the needs of developing countries. This shift has had
important implications and broadened our shared understandings about both the
kinds of tools that get developed and who gets access to them.
The R&D process for new products can stretch across a long chain,
especially in the case of medicines, from basic research to screening of potentially
useful tools, to proof of concept, to clinical testing for safety and efficacy, to field
application and dissemination. For the sake of analytical tractability, this article
focuses on the latter part of this chain, which I label “new product development”
or NPD, and excludes from consideration the stage of basic research.
This article offers a framework and narrative account of the conceptual
evolution that has occurred concerning NPD for the needs of developing
countries, using malaria as a microcosm of the broader system. It then ties this
evolution to ongoing debates regarding proposed systemic changes to the way
NPD is currently organized and governed. Finally, the article concludes with
recommendations for the Obama Administration on the core governance
principles that it should adopt in ongoing and future efforts to spur technological
innovation that meets human health needs globally.
The development of health tools to combat disease has a long and storied history
that reaches back thousands of years from the development of traditional
medicines, and continues forward through the germ theory of disease, the
emergence of a modern pharmaceutical industry, up through today’s myriad
products of advanced science and technology. Within the era of modern
medicines and health technologies, four separate phases are discernible, which I
label: National, International, Global/Neglected Diseases, and Global Health
(summarized in Table 1). The following sections discuss and illustrate each of
these in turn.
Phase I: National: Late 19th century-1950s
From about the late 19th century through the 1950s, NPD efforts were
organized along national lines and were situated predominantly in the more-
industrialized countries. On the public side, governments would invest taxpayer
money through institutions such as the US NIH or military research
organizations, with the understanding that in the long run the national public
would benefit from the discoveries that would result. On the private side, firms
would invest in developing new products, with the expectation that profits made
through government-granted, time-limited patent monopolies would provide a
sufficient return to re-invest in the development of new products. While patients
outside of national borders would also benefit from the development of new
health tools, the policy frameworks that guided such investments were primarily
national rather than international.
For example, in the field of malaria, many of the tools used today to
prevent or treat the disease emerged from the efforts of national military research
institutions. Militaries were often the lead investors in developing new anti-
malarial tools because of the crippling effect the disease had on fighting
capacity.10 Of the main malaria medicines developed in the twentieth century,
none emerged without significant military contribution to the R&D effort. Most
often, the targeted end-user was a soldier from an industrialized country. For
example, the medicine that was for many years the mainstay of malaria
treatment, chloroquine, emerged from US military efforts to find viable synthetic
alternatives to quinine during World War II.11 The US military research program
also developed amodiaquine, primaquine, halofantrine, and mefloquine,12 while
the British military developed proguanil and pyrimethamine.13 The development
of artemisinin emerged from the Chinese government’s efforts to develop a better
drug for its soldiers and allies in Vietnam in the 1970s.14
The initial development of insecticide-treated bednets (ITN) was also
pioneered by military efforts. While evidence of using netting to protect humans
from insect bites dates as far back as the 6th century in the Middle East,15 the
innovative step of treating bednets with insecticides emerged from military
efforts. During World War II, US, German and Russian troops used insect
repellant-treated uniforms and bednets to protect soldiers from vector-borne
illnesses.16 (The further development of insecticide-treated bednets is discussed
The military also played a key role in applying DDT as an anti-malarial
measure. The Swiss scientist Paul Muller first developed DDT as an insecticide in
1939, and was later awarded the Nobel Prize in Medicine for his discovery.
However, it was only after the British and US militaries carried out field trials in
southern Italy in WWII that DDT’s potency against malarial mosquitoes was
realized.17 As a result of this demonstrated success, DDT became a mainstay of
the global malaria eradication campaigns in the 1950s. Only later would DDT be
heavily used in agriculture, leading to the discovery of its long-term
environmental impacts and its ban in many markets in the 1970s. Other
pesticides have since replaced DDT in the US and Europe, but there is not yet a
chemical that matches DDT for its low-cost, effectiveness, and long-lasting
properties for malaria control. Thus, with some controversy, DDT is now slowly
being re-introduced in some endemic countries for indoor residual spraying. The
DDT example illustrates how the early nationally-driven NPD system generated
tools that were useful for the industrialized countries and could then be applied
in developing countries.
Under the “national” framework, innovation followed a distinct trickle-
down pattern: products were invented in the public and/or private sectors,
national research organizations (e.g. militaries) then played a critical role in
applying or discovering their utility against malaria; later, other organizations
such as developing country governments, WHO, donors, or public health
researchers, picked up these innovations and adapted or applied them for use in
developing countries.
However, for the purposes of addressing malaria in endemic developing
countries, there were important drawbacks to this nation-based NPD system.
Namely, tools developed for the purposes of Northern militaries were often ill-
suited for the needs of civilians in the South. Since the tools that emerged from
this system were not specifically designed for use in developing countries, they
were not always well-adapted or affordable.
For example, when drugs were developed for military use, the target end-
user was an adult, and there was almost no need to test the drugs in children or
to produce pediatric formulations; however, the majority of deaths from malaria
today occur in children under 5 in sub-Saharan Africa, and lack of sufficient
research into pediatric drugs is problematic. Similarly, clinical trials have tested
the safety and efficacy of using chemoprophylaxis for a duration of 3 months,
which would serve the needs of many military operations and the travelers’
market. However, such studies do little to help prevent malaria in populations
living in endemic regions.18 Furthermore, while ITNs were important preventive
tools, they retained their potency for a maximum of 6 months, but then had to be
re-treated – this problem created logistical nightmares for population-wide use
in endemic countries.19 In addition, while Northern militaries (and farmers) now
have alternatives to DDT, the NPD system has failed to produce a viable
replacement for the environmentally-harmful chemical for malaria control. In
the area of vaccines, military research efforts have focused on identifying a
vaccine that would provide 12 months of immunity to an adult with no prior
exposure to malaria (no natural immunity), an extremely useful tool for military
deployments but of limited utility in endemic areas where adults usually have
some immunity and much longer-term protection would be required. As the US
Military Infectious Diseases Research Program (MIDRP) points out, “Preventing
death in children and keeping soldiers healthy and effective are distinct goals
requiring different research strategies.”20 Finally, though the world has benefited
immensely from affordable and effective drugs like chloroquine and sulfadoxine-
pyrimethamine, when resistance to these medicines was spreading quickly in the
1980s and 1990s, there was no system in place to make newer medicines
available or affordable in most endemic countries. At that time, the relatively
more profitable market for anti-malarials remained Northern militaries and
travelers. Thus, in 1999, a drug pricing study found that the average retail price
of mefloquine in Tanzania was 80 percent higher than the maximum allowable
retail price for the travelers’ market in Norway, where medicines prices are about
average for the European Union.21 The high prices of newer malaria drugs
reflected the problem that new health tools were not being specifically developed
or priced for the developing world. Some of these problems began to be
addressed during the second phase of the NPD system.
Phase II: International: 1960s-1970s
In the 1960s and ‘70s, public health entered a phase of
internationalization, in parallel with similar developments in other fields, as
actors came to see the world as increasingly interdependent.22 For example, in
the US, the 1960s saw increased attention to the health problems of the
developing world with the establishment of the Fogarty International Center at
NIH in 1968, and the joint USAID-Department of Defense launch of a multi-
million dollar malaria vaccine research initiative.23 Of particular importance
during this period was the establishment in 1975 of the Special Programme for
Research and Training in Tropical Diseases (TDR), a joint initiative of the United
Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), UN Development Programme (UNDP), the
World Bank and WHO, and alongside it the Rockefeller Foundation’s Great
Neglected Diseases of Mankind international research network in 1977. These
initiatives marshaled donor resources to build research capacity in, and fund
research on, diseases disproportionately affecting the developing countries.
TDR-supported research contributed to the development of a number of
important new products, including demonstrating the effectiveness in humans of
Merck’s veterinary drug ivermectin for the treatment of onchocerciasis (river
blindness).24 WHO and TDR also played the role of cultural broker when news of
a Chinese-developed anti-malarial wonder drug, artemisinin, first emerged in the
West during the Cold War in 1979.25
The development of insecticide-treated bednets (ITNs) also owes a debt to
the support of TDR. In the 1960s-70s, soldiers wearing insecticide-treated
uniforms often failed to properly use these tools because the chemicals available
at the time caused skin rashes and other side-effects; furthermore, the insect
repellants usually wore off after one or two washings. In 1977, the US
Departments of Defense and Agriculture began studying ways to treat textiles
with permethrin, a synthetic version of the plant-based insecticide pyrethrum;
permethrin offered important advances over previously used chemicals, because
it was biodegradable, non-irritating, long-lasting, and had low toxicity in
mammals. 26 By 1983, researchers had developed technologies for treating
textiles so that permethrin would retain its potency after multiple washings and
users could go several months without re-treating their clothes and bednets. The
same year, WHO convened an expert meeting to study the potential of ITNs for
malaria control. TDR-supported researchers performed the important function
throughout the 1980s of developing ways to apply permethrin to mosquito-nets
used in sub-Saharan Africa (separate efforts were also underway in China) and
documented their efficacy in reducing child morbidity and mortality from
malaria.27 As a result of this work, ITNs came to be understood as an important
additional tool in the fight against malaria.
Finally, some of TDR’s practices established a model that the PDPs would
later emulate; for example, TDR set up an international network of academic
centers to screen compounds from pharmaceutical companies for usefulness
against its target tropical diseases.28
Compared to the earlier “national” period, the type of innovation that
occurred during this “international” period was broader in scope, combining
knowledge from both high- and lower-income countries to develop new products
for developing country health needs. However, by the late 1980s the Great
Neglected Diseases initiative was winding down and TDR was seriously under-
funded for its broad mandate. While TDR was charged to work on seven tropical
diseases, among other activities, its annual budget was only about $30 million;29
at the same time, a 1991 study found that the average cost of developing a new
medicine was $114 million (1987 dollars) out-of-pocket.30 Though these new
governance arrangements for NPD had yielded important advances, overall they
could not sufficiently meet the vast health needs of the developing world. At the
close of the 1980s, drug-resistant malaria was spreading across the globe, the
AIDS epidemic had gained momentum, and there were no new tools to detect or
treat tuberculosis: the NPD system had not kept up with global health needs.
Phase III: Global/Neglected Disease: 1990s-2000s
The 1990s launched the third phase of NPD governance arrangements,
which I label “global/neglected disease” because the new system took into
account the health needs of populations around the globe, but mainly for the so-
called “neglected diseases” that predominantly affected poor populations.
The question of how to channel health research for developing country
needs was revived during these years, particularly due to an increased
understanding of health research as global. In distinguishing between the older
term, “international health” and the now widely used “global health” Brown et al.
argue that the former emphasizes “a focus on the control of epidemics across the
boundaries between nations” whereas the latter “implies consideration of the
health needs of the people of the whole planet above the concerns of particular
nations.”31 This characterization fits well NPD governance arrangements in the
“global/neglected disease” era, in which governments partnered widely with
corporations and non-governmental organizations to develop new tools for
health needs specific to the developing world. This period witnessed a growing
appreciation for the importance of health research for development, coupled with
increasing dissatisfaction with the existing institutions for NPD, highlighted most
dramatically by the AIDS drug crisis.
A resurgence of interest in the role of research was reflected at the start of
the decade in the Commission on Health Research for Development’s 1990 report
Health Research-Essential Link to Equity in Development. This report argued
that research had long been “under-recognized and neglected” as a tool for
addressing growing global inequities in the health of populations, and urged
greater investment in health research at national level in developing countries, to
be supported internationally with increased funding, technical support, and
partnerships.32 Not long after, the 1993 World Bank report, Investing in Health,
put health squarely back on the international development agenda, making the
case that good health was critical to economic development.33 Closely following
on its heels was the 1996 report, Investing in Health Research and Development,
which focused more specifically on the questions of R&D and NPD.34 Finally, the
1999 publication of the Global Forum for Health Research, 10/90 Report on
Health Research added an overtly normative dimension to the debates by
arguing that spending only 10 percent of the world’s R&D dollars on health
conditions primarily affecting 90 percent of the population was an unethical
imbalance that needed to be corrected. The products of R&D were no longer
framed as private goods but as potential public goods that ought to produce
global benefits.
The demand for change in the NPD system had come from many quarters,
but was most vividly highlighted by the AIDS crisis. By the late 1990s,
antiretroviral therapy was reducing morbidity and extending life in the
industrialized countries, translating a lethal diagnosis into a chronic one.
However, at over $10,000 per patient/year, the therapy was beyond the reach of
most people living with HIV, about 95 percent of whom were in the developing
world. At the same time, developing countries were just beginning to implement
the 1994 World Trade Organization’s Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of
Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS), a treaty that mandated a minimum level of
patent protection and dismantled longstanding national exceptions in patent law
for medicines and food. As a result, developing countries were granting patent
monopolies on AIDS drugs that made it illegal to import generic medicines, even
when they cost 98 percent less than the patented price. In response to vocal and
politically savvy AIDS activists around the globe, a public outcry emerged over a
system that developed new medicines but denied access to them for the majority
of patients in need.35
The debate over access to AIDS drugs was highly contentious. While the
major patent-owning pharmaceutical companies initially responded to public
pressure by offering voluntary price discounts and donations, these were
insufficient in scope to meet the vast scale of the needs. Advocates pushed for the
widespread use of lower-cost generic medicines, which would require overcoming
patent barriers at country level. WTO rules allowed countries to override patents
for the public interest using a measure called “compulsory licensing,” but due to
heavy political pressure from the industrialized countries, no developing country
used this flexibility until after 2001. That year, the drug industry suffered a
major public-relations debacle when it sued the South African government for
attempting to access lower-cost medicines; by April 2001 the industry had
dropped the case “exhausted by the vitriol that has been heaped upon it.”36 Later
that year, in the wake of the anthrax scare, US health secretary Tommy
Thompson was facing the possibility of shortages and high prices for the only
effective drug, ciprofloxacin. Thompson publicly threatened the patent holder,
Bayer, with a compulsory license on the medicine, as did Canada. While he never
issued the compulsory license, the episode changed the tenor of the debates
around AIDS drugs. Two months later, at the WTO conference of trade ministers
in Doha, Qatar, the US found its opposition to the use of compulsory licensing
untenable. In December 2001, the WTO issued a unanimous declaration
confirming the right of all member countries to use compulsory licensing and to
decide the grounds upon which to use them.37
The Doha Declaration provided the political support for developing
countries to access generic versions of patented medicines either through
compulsory licensing or other legal means.
By 2008, generic competition had dropped the best international price for
a year’s worth of AIDS drugs to less than $100, or about 1 percent of its price in
2000.38 Major donors such as the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, TB and Malaria
and the US President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) both currently
purchase large quantities of generic drugs to supply national treatment
programs. Arguably, there is an emerging global norm that, in some
circumstances, governments are allowed to put public health concerns before
patent protection.
The AIDS drug debate has resulted in three outcomes that are important
for ongoing discussions on NPD for developing country needs. First, it has re-
framed medicines from being understood as private goods to global public goods.
Second (and relatedly), it has legitimized the idea that public health concerns
may trump intellectual property protection. Third, it has set the precedent of
civil society mobilization for access to new health tools. I discuss the implications
of these developments for future NPD governance in the next section.
While much of the public attention centered on HIV/AIDS, the broader
debate on access to medicines called into question the dominant institutional
arrangements for NPD, in which the size of the market fixed research priorities,
and monopolies allowed health tools to be sold at unaffordable prices.
The public-private product development partnerships (PDPs) emerged in
the late 1990s against a complex backdrop of scientific, medical, ideational,
political and economic factors, including: increasing attention paid to health and
the critical role played by research, the growing commercial potential of emerging
markets in the developing world, the criticism of the negative impacts of the
globalization of patents, the idea that NPD investment was not globally equitable
(“10/90 gap”) and that patents would not remedy this imbalance, and the
tattered image of the pharmaceutical industry due to its reaction to the AIDS
crisis.39 The new PDPs were designed to respond to the key shortcomings of the
existing NPD system.40 One major problem was that in a market-driven system
there would be insufficient investment into diseases primarily affecting poor
populations; of 1393 new medicines developed from 1975-1999, only 16 – or
about 1 percent -- were for tropical diseases and tuberculosis.41
Three key principles of the PDPs that differentiated them from older
institutional models were that: 1) tools should be affordable, 2) tools should be
adapted for use in resource-poor settings and 3) complementary public- and
private-sector expertise should be mobilized.
Important PDPs include: the International AIDS Vaccine Initiative (IAVI,
founded 1996), Medicines for Malaria Venture (MMV, 1999), Malaria Vaccine
Initiative (MVI, 1999), Global Alliance for TB Drug Development (2000),
Institute for OneWorld Health (IOWH, 2001), the Drugs for Neglected Diseases
Initiative (DNDi, 2001), the Foundation for Innovative Diagnostics (FIND,
2003), and the long-lasting insecticide-treated (LLIN) bednets partnership
between WHO and three firms (detailed below).
One example of the new thinking is represented by MVI, which describes
its ideal malaria vaccine as: “easy to manufacture, easy to administer, and when
administered in infancy, confer life-long immunity.” Furthermore, MVI commits
to ensuring “that successful, appropriate vaccines will be sold at affordable prices
in the public sector.”42 These criteria differ significantly from those of the US
Department of Defense, which is trying to develop a vaccine primarily intended
for adults that would confer short-term immunity (1 year minimum, 2 years
desired), with no explicit mention of cost constraints.43 Finally, within the scope
of MVI’s seven ongoing projects are 51 “partners,” of whom 35 percent are private
firms and 65 percent public or publicly-oriented organizations (e.g. government
research institutes, universities, foundations). 44 This globally-networked
partnership structure contrasts with the more centralized DoD program, which is
largely carried out in-house (though DoD cooperates with MVI).
The rapid evolution of institutional arrangements in recent years is well
illustrated by the example of the development of artemisinin-combination
therapy for malaria. Coartem (artemether and lumefantrine) is a fixed-dose
combination of two malaria drugs that was developed by the pharmaceutical
company Novartis in partnership with a Chinese firm. When Novartis first
launched Coartem in 1998 it was targeted at the European market. The drug was
neither widely available nor affordable in developing countries until 2001, when
Novartis and WHO announced an agreement to market the drug at a reduced
price in low-income countries. At the time, Novartis only produced adult
formulation tablets, which could be used but were not ideal for the treatment of
small children. In 2003 the company announced jointly with MMV that it was
beginning to develop a pediatric formulation which received regulatory approval
in Switzerland in early 2009.45
The trajectory of Coartem reflects governance arrangements in flux: it was
a product that was initially developed in the 1990s primarily for the Northern
travelers’ market. In response to changing politics, norms and demands, an
access program was introduced in 2001 to sell the drugs “at cost” or around 2.60
USD per adult treatment. By 2003 a changed political context made it feasible
and desirable to begin developing a pediatric formulation that would primarily
serve the developing world, and to drop the adult treatment price to around 1
Notably, the Coartem story repeated itself but within a compressed
timeline when DNDi and Sanofi-Aventis released their combination malaria drug
(artesunate and amodiaquine, “ASAQ”) in 2007. ASAQ, like Coartem, was co-
formulated into one tablet for ease of use and to facilitate patient adherence;
however, it also allowed for a simplified once-a-day dosing schedule (compared
to twice-a-day for Coartem). The combination was immediately marketed at a
“no profit – no loss” price of about 1 USD/day, with a pediatric formulation
available at about half the price, and an explicit no-patent policy to encourage
generic competition in production of the drug.47 That ASAQ was launched with
affordability and children-under-five in endemic countries in mind reflects an
ideational evolution in the purpose and intended beneficiaries of NPD efforts.
This evolution is also evident in other technologies for malaria. For
example, the logistical problem posed by ITNs whose potency only lasted 6-
months was significantly mitigated when Sumitomo Chemicals developed a long-
lasting insecticide-treated bednet (LLIN) that retained its potency for up to five
years. Sumitomo engineers had first developed the key technology in 1992 for
other purposes, and in 1999 produced a first batch of LLINs targeted at travelers
and the Southeast Asian market.48 In 2002, WHO approached Sumitomo and
asked the firm to increase production volumes and also to consider transferring
technology to an African firm to spur local production.49 By 2006, A to Z Textile
Mills in Tanzania, along with two production plants in China and one in Vietnam
were producing LLINs through a non-exclusive, royalty-free license. 50
Significantly, affordability was an important criteria for the partnership; one
objective of the technology transfer was to achieve production efficiencies at A to
Z, which reduced the price of an LLIN from about 10 to 5 USD. While this price
is higher than for a regular ITN, its per-year cost is about half that of ITNs.51
Both the development of new, affordable, fixed-dose combination malaria
drugs and the LLINs reflect important ideational changes that put an
unprecedented level of attention on NPD for the developing world.
By targeting the needs of the world’s poorest, the PDPs represented an
important change in the orientation of NPD efforts. However, the funding model
has not changed dramatically since the 1970s when donor governments and
philanthropists footed the bill for TDR. The scale of funding has undeniably
grown, particularly due to the growing involvement of the Bill & Melinda Gates
Foundation, which has invested 11.7 billion USD in global health programs (many
of them research oriented) from 1994-2008.52 One analysis of funding sources
for four major PDPs (MMV, DNDi, IOWH, and TB Alliance) found that over the
lifetime of these PDPs (through 2005), philanthropic sources comprised 78
percent (212 million USD) of funds, of which the Gates Foundation accounted for
75 percent (159 million USD); Northern donor governments had contributed
about 16 percent (44 million USD) of the total.53 The rapid infusion of funds has
kick-started multiple new research efforts in a short span of time, and quickly
established these new institutional forms as important players in the NPD
system. Nevertheless, the funding model underlying the PDPs is as donor-
dependent as the initiatives in the previous ‘international’ phase. New ideas for
financing NPD in ways that do not rely solely on donors are a characteristic of the
next phase.
Phase IV: Global Health: Present-?
Today, we find ourselves at the beginning of a fourth phase whose
contours remain undefined. There have been dramatic shifts in the organization
of NPD for some infectious diseases over the past decade, leading to a broad
array of new research efforts and an unprecedented level of political attention
and funding; these developments bode well for the prospects for new, effective,
adapted and affordable tools becoming available to promote global health.
However, an important limitation is that these innovations have been limited to
the so-called neglected diseases: malaria, TB, and a range of tropical diseases
such as schistosomiasis, Chagas disease, leishmaniasis and dengue fever. The
“neglected diseases” framework has a critical shortcoming, which is that it
focuses only on diseases that by definition only affect the poor. One side-effect is
that attention may be shifted away from the question of how accessible and
appropriate are medical interventions for diseases that affect both rich and poor
countries, such as chronic non-communicable diseases (NCD) (henceforth “Type
1” diseases, following the WHO terminology).54
Effective institutions for NPD for the non-communicable diseases are
critical for several reasons. First, the number of deaths and burden of disease
from chronic non-communicable disease is projected to increase, while those due
to infectious diseases (with the important exception of HIV/AIDS) will fall by
2030. 55 In low- and middle-income countries the burden of disease from NCDs
has already increased from 35 percent in 1990 to 45 percent in 2003, and is
projected to exceed 50 percent by 2030.56 It is an urgent and critical question
whether the current NPD system, including the recent institutional innovations,
will be able to meet these coming challenges.
The emergence of PDPs in the past decade has led to a bifurcated NPD
system (see Table 1). On the one hand, the private sector develops new products
for diseases that affect the industrialized world, funded by a combination of
public support for basic research and monopoly profits from sales. On the other
hand, PDPs address the neglected diseases for which market mechanisms had
failed to generate sufficient investment, and are financed by philanthropists and
donor governments. However, reliance on this old funding model has raised
questions regarding its sustainability. In addition, concerns have been raised
about the governance of PDPs – how priorities are set, decisions made, and
funding allocated.57
Furthermore, the PDPs, as they are currently organized, are likely to be ill-
suited to the Type 1 diseases. The PDPs rely on cooperation and contributions
from major pharmaceutical companies, who are willing to do so, in part, because
the end products are not highly profitable; in other words, because there is
virtually no market for a leishmaniasis drug, companies can share information
and compounds with little fear of loss of competitive advantage. Furthermore,
the PDPs can attract public and charitable funds precisely because they will not
attract sufficient private sector money to function. These conditions do not hold
for Type 1 diseases, and PDPs are likely not the appropriate response.58 This is
not to imply that cooperation between the public, private, and non-profit sectors
will fall by the wayside. However, the model of cooperation currently embodied
in the PDPs will not be viable when sizable profits are at stake.
If not the PDPs, then what about the patent system? If we take a global
perspective of the needs, the current NPD system for Type 1 diseases generates
innovative tools that are reasonably well-suited for the industrialized countries.
(For the sake of brevity, I leave aside here concerns about the declining rate of
innovation in the pharmaceutical industry.) But for many parts of the developing
world, these innovations may not be affordable or well-adapted for use in
resource-poor settings.59 In some ways, the current situation for Type 1 diseases
parallels the earlier nation-based NPD system, in that innovative products are
developed in the industrialized world and will possibly later ‘trickle-down’ to the
developing world, but the new tools that emerge will not necessarily be well-
adapted or affordable. This was indeed the situation with antiretroviral drugs for
AIDS before global political mobilization changed the way in which access to
these medicines was governed.
However, the key difference in the “global health” phase that we are now
entering is that there is a global demand for access to new health tools for all
diseases – not only for those labeled “neglected” – and growing understanding
among all key actors that we need new global governance arrangements to
manage public goods such as NPD.60 Political pressure on the current NPD
system is likely to grow. Will another wave of innovation in governance
arrangements respond to the current shortcomings of the NPD system? The
following sections discuss the most recent debates over the NPD system, and
argue that there is nascent but increasing understanding that both the benefits
and financing of NPD should be globally shared.
Who Should Benefit from NPD?
The AIDS epidemic and the struggle for access to antiretroviral (ARV)
therapy is largely responsible for having catapulted the broader debate about
access to medicines onto the global public agenda. After the AIDS drug debate,
for the first time, widespread acceptance emerged of the idea that people in
developing countries might have a right to access the fruits of research, even if it
was largely carried out and funded by taxpayers and citizens of the North. In
2005, the Group of 8 industrialized countries even declared universal access to
AIDS treatment by 2010 to be a shared goal. In part, the devastating scale of the
epidemic may have been particularly convincing. However, it was also due to the
salience of the idea that medicines (or possibly health tools more broadly) were a
distinct category of goods. Not only could medicines restore health, but as
knowledge-intensive products they also had the potential to be global public
goods – meaning, consumption by one person would not necessarily reduce
consumption by another.61 In a globalizing world, political mobilization for
access to essential health tools is likely to grow.
A recent example of such mobilization concerns the cancer drug Glivec
(imatinib mesylate), patented by the Swiss drug firm Novartis. Glivec is one of
the most effective new cancer drugs to emerge in many years, and is used for the
treatment of chronic myeloid leukemia and gastrointestinal stromal tumors.
However, Glivec’s high price, combined with its significant therapeutic
advantages, have made it the target of cancer patient advocacy in many countries.
In 2002, a patients’ association in South Korea pressured both the firm and the
government to reduce the price of the drug, which cost up to 50,000 USD per
year; they also filed a request for a compulsory license (government override of a
patent), though this petition was denied.62 More recently, in 2007 the patent on
Glivec in India was overturned by a legal challenge from a patients’ organization
and a generic company producing the drug at lower cost.63 Finally, in January
2008, the government of Thailand issued a compulsory license for Glivec, but
reversed its decision after Novartis offered to donate the drug free of charge to
the national health system.64 These developments occurred despite the global
donation program Novartis had launched for the drug, which was accused of
moving too slowly and mixing humanitarian gestures with commercial motives.65
The Glivec story reflects a broader problem in the NPD system: when new health
tools are developed for diseases with global incidence, there are no clear
governance arrangements to ensure that they are affordable or available to people
who need them. However, AIDS has established the idea that access should be
broadly-shared, thus, the kinds of political conflict that took place over Glivec are
likely to recur with other effective new health tools.
The epidemiological transition in developing countries and consequent
growing burden of non-infectious disease implies a greater similarity in health
needs across the globe. Economic growth in China, India, Brazil, South Africa
and other developing countries also implies both stronger domestic scientific
research capacity and the funds to support it. While treating health products as
global public goods can provide widespread benefits, it will also be necessary to
address the classic economic problem with public goods: underinvestment and
free-riding. Thus, new governance arrangements will need to address the
problem of how to share the burden of research funding.
Who Should Pay for NPD?
A full understanding of current discussions on NPD financing requires
first a brief look at the evolution of the debate on patents as the primary financing
mechanism for NPD.
Beginning in the 1980s, the research-based pharmaceutical industry began
systematically lobbying the US government to push for an expansion in the
number of countries granting patent protection on medicines, and a ratcheting-
up of protection levels in countries where it already existed.66 Such a system
would, presumably, increase profits to the patent-holders, but the industry also
portrayed it as a way of spreading the cost of financing research across the globe.
These efforts were sustained throughout the Uruguay Round of world trade
negotiations and came to fruition in 1994 when TRIPS was signed. TRIPS set in
motion the globalization of a uniform set of intellectual property (IP) standards
that would, in theory, allow a more broad-based system of extracting rents for
future NPD investment.
However, globalizing patents on health tools was extremely controversial.
Historically, many countries had adopted national IP policies to meet domestic
needs, with less industrialized countries usually offering lower levels of IP
protection.67 Many countries, even relatively wealthy ones, also excluded food
and medicine from patentability because of the negative effects of monopoly
pricing of these products on social welfare; for example, Spain, Norway and
Greece did not grant product patents on medicines until 1992.68 However, TRIPS
required all WTO Members to provide a uniform level of IP protection (e.g. 20-
year patent terms) and disallowed the exclusion of food or medicines from
Many scholars and civil society groups were highly critical of TRIPS,
characterizing it as a wholesale rent transfer from poor to rich countries that
would retard rather than induce industrialization and economic development. Of
particular concern was the expected increase in the price of new medicines in
developing countries;69 patents could also increase the prices of other critical
innovative health products, including insecticides, vaccines and diagnostics.
Thus, throughout the 1980s and ‘90s there was a push to globalize the
financing of health NPD through a uniform system of patent protection.
However, strong social reaction coupled with growing concern about the AIDS
epidemic undermined support in many parts of the world for this NPD financing
Understanding that the PDPs are only likely to work for some diseases,
today, many actors are seeking new governance arrangements for funding NPD
on a sustainable and globally equitable basis that would provide alternatives to
the patent system. These concerns have led to increasing discussions regarding
the role of the public sector of both donor and developing countries in funding
Increasing Global Burden-Sharing
The idea of global burden-sharing for NPD is critical for maintaining long-
run political support for the idea of global access, particularly in light of the
growing economic power of some large developing countries and the ongoing
global economic recession. There have been several important indications that
the idea of global burden-sharing has gained momentum.
For example, in 2005, hundreds of prominent scientists, scholars, and
health activists signed a letter asking the WHO Commission on Intellectual
Property, Innovation and Public Health to consider proposals for a medical R&D
treaty.70 The treaty proposal suggested that countries commit to contributing to
global R&D efforts, commensurate with their levels of GDP, through a range of
policy mechanisms including: direct funding for R&D, tax credits, prize funds, or
purchases of medicines.
Another innovative financing model has been operationalized by the
UNITAID partnership, which was co-founded by five countries in 2006 and has
implemented an airline tax to finance the purchase of health products in low-
income countries. The driving rationale was that predictable, long-term funding
would be necessary to sustain global health efforts. As of November 2008, the
progressive tax was implemented in 7 countries, and in process in 15 others.71
Notably, only one-fourth of the 29 committed donor countries are OECD
members while roughly half are UN-designated Least-Developed Countries,
reflecting the idea that all countries – even the poorest – can help to shoulder the
burden of NPD financing. Furthermore, participating countries have significant
flexibility to adapt the tax to their specific contexts. While UNITAID began as an
international drug purchasing facility, it has since expanded its activities and has
begun working on establishing a patent pool to facilitate the development of new
products such as fixed-dose combinations.72 Annual funding for 2007 was $320
million and is projected to reach $500 million by 2009. The institutional design
of UNITAID reflects the growing importance of several ideas: the need to share
globally the burden of financing health tools, the importance of adjusting that
burden to local contexts, and the utility of long-term dependable financing.
Another important arena in which there has been increasing discussion of
global burden-sharing is among Member States involved in the WHO
Intergovernmental Working Group on Public Health, Innovation, and Intellectual
Property (IGWG). The IGWG process can be understood as an attempt to build a
sustainable system for funding the development of global public goods for health
with the support of all WHO Member States. As such, it can also be interpreted
as an attempt to build a more stable financing model and a more broad-based
governance system for NPD. The IGWG process was launched by a World Health
Assembly (WHA) resolution in 2006, sponsored by Kenya and Brazil, and
charged with identifying a “global strategy and plan of action” aimed at “securing
an enhanced and sustainable basis for needs-driven, essential health research
and development relevant to diseases that disproportionately affect developing
countries [and] proposing clear objectives and priorities for research and
development.”73 The creation of IGWG traces its roots to two earlier initiatives:
the publication in 2002 of the UK Government Commission on Intellectual
Property Rights, which was followed in 2006 by the report of the WHO
Commission on Intellectual Property, Innovation and Public Health. Both of
these reports, drafted by a diverse and respected group of expert commissioners,
concluded that a patent-based system would be insufficient to finance and set
global health priorities for NPD.74 In the past several years a broad range of new
ideas have been put on the table, including75: a global R&D treaty (discussed
above), a global R&D fund (India), international agreements for access to
compound libraries, global free access to publications based on publicly-funded
research, special licensing arrangements for publicly-funded research, patent
pools, advanced market commitments,76 funding for clinical trials as global
public goods, and a series of prize funds for specific new products.77 Many of
these measures would involve contributions from developing countries.
After intense eleventh-hour negotiations, particularly over the thorny IP
issues, IGWG concluded at the 2008 World Health Assembly (WHA)78; in 2009,
the WHA approved the Global Strategy and agreed parts of the Plan of Action
that had emerged from the IGWG process.79 One important idea that all
Member States agreed upon was that it would be necessary to finance and
stimulate NPD for all diseases that affect the developing countries– not only the
neglected diseases. Furthermore, eight PDPs issued a position statement at the
2008 meeting, emphasizing the need for new incentive mechanisms and new
funding for NPD.80 In other words, many of the PDPs did not see themselves as
the sole sufficient response to global health NPD needs. The IGWG agreements
reached so far indicate the beginnings of a normative shift toward a new “global
health” phase of NPD, based on the principles of global access and global burden-
sharing for the production of global public goods.
This article has outlined the progression of the NPD system through four main
phases: it began at the start of the twentieth century with the ‘national’ system in
which financing, intended beneficiaries and policy frameworks were confined to
the national level mostly in the industrialized countries; it then progressed in the
1960s-70s to an “international” system in which donors put increasing emphasis
on NPD for the health needs of the developing world; by the 1990s we had shifted
to a “global/neglected disease” phase, in which both state and non-state actors
were called upon to contribute to NPD for the “neglected diseases”; and finally,
we are perhaps at the beginning of a fourth phase of “global health,” in which the
scope of diseases is expanded to include all diseases of global incidence, with the
understanding that all populations should benefit from and contribute to NPD
As the history of the evolution of NPD systems demonstrates, there is
momentum and political demand for a system that will be ever more inclusive.
The outlines of this most recent phase remain blurred, and it will likely take
many years and some policy experimentation to achieve concrete outcomes.
Nevertheless, there are two core governance principles that ought to shape future
initiatives and that the Obama Administration should consider adopting: first,
knowledge and innovation for all diseases should be treated as a global public
good; and second, NPD should not be based on a charity- or donor-based model,
but rather should be supported through a politically sustainable governance
arrangement through which the burden of providing funding and scientific
expertise is globally-shared.
As a major contributor to global health financing, the world’s largest
pharmaceutical market, home to innovative researchers and institutions, as well
as the highest drug prices in the world, the US has much to contribute and much
to gain from a more health-sensitive, equitable global health innovation system.
The ability to extract and develop the world’s best health knowledge would
benefit not only the world’s poorest, but the world’s most powerful country as
well: in 2003, when 290 US Marines briefly went ashore to support international
peacekeepers in Liberia, over one in four returned with malaria.81 Though
artemisinin-based combination therapy was not then available in the US, this
example demonstrates the potential advantages of developing new health tools as
global public goods.
Suerie Moon is a PhD Candidate in public policy at the Kennedy School of
Government, Harvard University, and a Giorgio Ruffolo Doctoral Research
Fellow in the Sustainability Science Program at Harvard’s Center for
International Development.
The author wishes to thank William C. Clark, Catherine M. Michaud, and Nicole
A. Szlezak for insightful comments, and Folasade Odeniyi for very helpful
research assistance. She is also very grateful for support provided for this work
from: the Harvard Kennedy School Dean’s Acting in Time Initiative, the
Sustainability Science Program at the Center for International Development at
Harvard, the Norberg-Bohm Fellowship, and the Hauser Center Research Fund.
Table 1. Evolution of Governance Arrangements for New Product
Time System
d End-
Funding Innovators/
(e.g. US military)
Private via
private sector
Public, Private
via national
private sector
TDR, Fogarty
Philanthropic Public
Public, Private
via globalized
private sector
PDPs for
public, in-kind
private sector
? Global Health Global Public,
philanthropic, Public
research All
private organizations,
private sector
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2 Hsu, “Reflections on the ‘discovery’ of the antimalarial qinghao.”
3 Though technology is far from the only element necessary to improve public health, it can
sometimes play a pivotal role between sickness and well-being.
4 For a concise account, see Ellen F.M. ’t Hoen, The Global Politics of Pharmaceutical Monopoly
Power: Drug patents, access, innovation and the application of the WTO Doha Declaration on
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5 James Love has been a leading proponent of re-framing the “access” debate as an “innovation
and access” debate. See, for example: Tim Hubbard and James Love, “A New Trade Framework
for Global Healthcare R&D,” PLoS Biol 2, no. 2 (2004): e52. Available online at
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8 For a thorough discussion of the challenges of achieving coherence between trade and health
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Fidler, Nick Drager and Kelley Lee., “Managing the pursuit of health and wealth: the key
challenges,” The Lancet 373, no. 9660 (2009): 325-331.; Kelley Lee, Devi Sridhar, and Mayur
Patel, “Bridging the divide: Global governance of trade and health,” The Lancet 373, no. 9660
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9 Suerie Moon and Gonzalo Fanjul. “Algo más que una gripe,” El Mundo, 26 May 2009. Available
at <>
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hospital admissions due to falciparum malaria. See Mark Honigsbaum, The Fever Trail: In
Search of the Cure for Malaria (New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2001), 224. More
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11 Though the compound itself was first synthesized in Germany in 1934, it was the US military
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35 ‘t Hoen, The Global Politics of Pharmaceutical Monopoly Power..
36 David Pilling and Nicola degli Innocenti, “A crack in the resolve of an industry.” The
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37 World Trade Organization. “Declaration on the TRIPS Agreement and Public Health.
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39 For an analysis of why major drug firms participate in PDPs, see: Mary Moran et al., The New
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Available at
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of Neglected Disease Drug Development.”
41 Patrice Trouiller, Piero Olliaro, Els Torreele, James Orbinski, Richard Laing, and Nathan Ford,
“Drug development for neglected diseases: A deficient market and a public-health policy failure.”
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44 Malaria Vaccine Initiative. “MVI Vaccine Development Portfolio.”
45 International Federation of Pharmaceutical Manufacturers Associations (IFPMA),
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46 For further information on the evolution of prices for artemisinin-combination therapies for
malaria, see: Suerie Moon, Carmen Pérez-Casas, Jean-Marie Kindermans, Martin de Smet and
Tido von Schoen-Angerer. “Focusing on quality patient care in the new global subsidy for malaria
medicines.” PLoS Medicine, forthcoming.
47 Drugs for Neglected Diseases Initiative (DNDi), “New, Once-a-Day Fixed-Dose
Combination Against Malaria Now Available.” 1 March 2007.
48 Takaaki Ito and Takeshi Okuno, “Development of ‘Olyset® Net’ as aTool for Malaria
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52 Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, “Grants Overview: Funding from 1994 to Present,” 2009.
53 Moran et al. “The New Landscape of Neglected Disease Drug Development.”
54 The WHO Commission on Macroeconomics and Health divided diseases into three categories
based on the populations affected. Type I refers to diseases that affect both rich and poor
countries, with large populations affected in each (e.g. cardiovascular disease, diabetes). Type II
are diseases prevalent in both rich and poor countries, but with a large proportion of cases in poor
countries (e.g. HIV/AIDS). Type III diseases are those that almost exclusively affect the poor
countries (e.g. most of the ‘neglected diseases’)
55 Colin D Mathers and Dejan Loncar, “Projections of Global Mortality and Burden of Disease
from 2002 to 2030,” PLoS Medicine 3, no. 11 (2006): e442 doi:10.1371/journal.pmed.0030442
56 Ibid.
57 K. Buse & G.Walt, “Global public-private partnerships: Part 1 – A new development in
health?” Bulletin of the World Health Organisation 78, no. 4 (2000): 549-561.; Kent Buse,
“Governing public-private infectious disease partnerships.” Brown Journal of World Affairs,
10, no. 2 (Spring 2004): 225-242.; Anne-Emanuelle Birn, “Gates’ grandest challenge:
transcending technology as public health ideology.” The Lancet 366, no. 9484 (2005): 514-519;
Donald G. McNeil, “Gates Foundation’s Influence Criticized,” The New York Times 16 February
58 One exception may be IAVI, since an AIDS vaccine would be of tremendous value in both the
developing and industrialized countries. However, there are other key differences between an
AIDS vaccine and tools for NCD, including the high uncertainty around a vaccine, the
unprecedented amount of global attention paid to AIDS, and the discrepancy between the
financial attractiveness of a drug versus a vaccine. It is notable that there is no PDP for
antiretroviral drugs for AIDS.
59 Notably, even in the United States and even for the insured population, the rising cost of new
medicines is becoming a heavy financial burden. See Gina Kolata, “Co-Payments Soar for
Drugs with High Prices.” The New York Times, 14 April 2008; “When Drug Costs Soar Beyond
Reach.” The New York Times, 15 April 2008.
60 John G. Ruggie, “Reconstituting the Global Public Domain,” European Journal of
International Relations 10, no. 4 (2004): 499-531.
61 Inge Kaul et al., Providing Global Public Goods: Managing Globalization (New York: Oxford
University Press, 2003).
62 Hee Seob Nam and Sung Ho Park, “Request for a Compulsory License.” Submitted to the
Korean Intellectual Property Office, 30 January 2002. Accessed online at
63 C.R. Sukumar, “Novartis loses patent claim on cancer drug – Patents Controller upholds Natco
Contention,” The Hindu Business Line (India), 25 January 2007. Accessed online at
64 William New, “New Thai Minister May Review Compulsory Licenses on Cancer Drugs.”
Intellectual Property Watch, 8 February 2008. Accessed online at
65 Stephanie Strom and Matt Fleischer-Blac, “Company's Vow to Donate Cancer Drug Falls
Short.” The New York Times, 5 June 2003.
66 Peter Drahos and John Braithwaite, Information Feudalism: Who Owns the Knowledge
Economy? (London: Earthscan, 2002).
67 World Intellectual Property Organization, “Existence, scope and form of generally
internationally accepted and applied Standards/Norms for the Protection of Intellectual
Property,” Note prepared by the International Bureau of WIPO – Revision, 15 September 1988,
68 Jean O. Lanjouw and William Jack, “Trading Up: How Much Should Poor Countries Pay to
Support Pharmaceutical Innovation?” CGD Brief 4, no. 3 (2004). Available at
69 Shubham Chaudhuri, Pinelopi K. Goldberg, and Panle Jia, “Estimating the Effects of Global
G H G , V II, N . 2 (F 2008/S 2009)
Patent Protection in Pharmaceuticals: A Case Study of Quinolones in India,” NBER Working
Paper 10159, 2003.
70 Consumer Project on Technology, Letter to ask World Health Organization to Evaluate New
Treaty Framework for Medical Research and Development, 2005. Available:
71 Implemented: Chile, Côte d’Ivoire, France, Republic of Korea, Madagascar, Mauritius, Niger
(Norway dedicates part of its CO2 tax on airline fuel to UNITAID).
In process of implementation: Benin, Brazil, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Central African Republic,
Congo, Gabon, Guinea, Liberia, Mali, Morocco, Namibia, Senegal, São Tomé and Principe, Togo.
Source:, last accessed 7 June
72 Ellen ‘t Hoen and Tido von Schoen-Angerer, “A Patent Pool for Medicines.” The World
Today 65, no. 2 (2009).
73 World Health Assembly Resolution 59.24. “Public health, innovation, essential health
research and intellectual property rights: towards a global strategy and plan of action.” 27 May
2006. Accessed 12 September 2007 <>
74 Commission on Intellectual Property Rights, “Integrating Intellectual Property Rights
and Development Policy.” London: Department for International Development, 2002. Available
at; WHO Commission on Intellectual Property Rights, Innovation and
Public Health, Report of the WHO Commission on Intellectual Property Rights, Innovation
and Public Health (Geneva: World Health Organization, 2006).
75 Karin Timmermans, “National and Regional Documents and Perspectives,” Presentation at
Roundtable Workshop on Public Health, Innovation and Intellectual Property, Beijing, 24-25
September 2007.
76 Ernst R. Berndt et al., “Advance Market Commitments for Vaccines Against Neglected Diseases:
Estimating Costs and Effectiveness.” Working Paper 98. Washington D.C.: Center for Global
Development, 2007.
77 Joseph Stiglitz, “Innovation: A Better Way than Patents.” The New Scientist, 16 September
2006.; James Love, “Drug development incentives to improve access to essential medicines,”
Bulletin of the World Health Organization 84, no. 5 (2006); Mision Permanente de la
Republica de Bolivia, Ginebra, “Working Document Proposed by Barbados and Bolivia,
April 2008.” 17 April 2008; Letter to WHO Secretariat for Public Health, Innovation and
Intellectual Property, available online at
78 William New, “WHO Adopts ‘Most Important Document Since Doha’ On IP and Public
Health.” Intellectual Property Watch, 29 May 2008. Accessed online at <http://www.ip>
79 World Health Assembly. “Global strategy and plan of action on public health, innovation and
intellectual property.” 24 May 2008. Sixty-first World Health Assembly,Resolution WHA61.21.
Available at <>.
80 International AIDS Vaccine Initiative, Pediatric Dengue Vaccine Initiative, Drugs for Neglected
Diseases Initiative, Innovative Vector Control Consortium, Medicines for Malaria Venture, Aeras
Global TB Vaccine Foundation, Global Alliance for TB Drug Development, Malaria Vaccine
Initiative, “Position paper on Issues Raised in the Intergovernmental Working Group on
Public Health, Innovation and Intellectual Property (IGWG) 29 April 2008.” Accessed 30 April
2008 at <>
81 United States Navy. Malaria Outbreak Among Members of JTF Liberia: Consensus Conference
Report, 2003. Accessed 27 March 2008 < http://www->
... A number of existing studies work with the model of global public goods. The studies focus on individual areas of globalisation, especially on the issue of international healthcare provision as a global public good [Chen et al., 1999;Smith et al., 2003;Brown et al., 2006;Moon, 2009;Weir ̶ Mykhalovskiy, 2014], on the provision of global public goods by a civil society [Einarsson, 2001;Kaul, 2001a;Henderson, 2002], on the role of global public goods in providing development aid [Raffer, 1999;Kaul, 2001b;Morrissey et al., 2002;Guillaumont, 2002;Kaul 2005;Mascarenhas ̶ Sandler, 2005], on the status of natural environment as a global public good [Nordhaus, 1999;Saurin, 2001;Unnevehr, 2004;Milinski et al., 2006], or on the status of energy security as a global public good [Gupta ̶ Ivanova, 2009;Goldthau, 2011;Karlsson-Vinkhuyzen et al., 2012]. Many areas of globalisation, however, have not been so far analysed using the theory of global public goods. ...
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The debate surrounding the provision of welfare by state institutions has been widely discussed in the field of political economics since the 1930s. Related research also focuses on welfare supply at an international system level. This article assesses whether international cooperation in the area of sharing remote sensing data leads to the supply of global public goods, which to date has not yet been discussed in related scholarly literature. The supply of global public goods is assessed within the GEO international regime and leads to the use of the non-rivalrous GEOSS, which can be accessed by every socioeconomic group in every UN member country including future generations. However, providing the benefit of GEOSS is not always favourable because of the low number of financially participating consumers.
... Ademais, alguns aspectos do conhecimento das tecnologias podem ser bens públicos globais, mesmo que o produto em si seja privado. Historicamente, os cenários para o desenvolvimento de novos medicamentos que se iniciaram com investimentos nacionais até meados do século passado passaram por um movimento de internacionalização focado nos países desenvolvidos, e mais recentemente evoluíram para esforços de compartilhamento da carga global (Moon, 2008). As vantagens dessa ampliação, como no conhecimento para o reposicionamento de medicamentos existentes, podem proporcionar benefícios globais. ...
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Passados os primeiros meses da pandemia do novo coronavírus no Brasil, o Observatório Covid-19 Fiocruz, em parceria com a Editora Fiocruz e com o apoio da Rede SciELO Livros, traz para o público leitor um conjunto de livros instantâneos sobre as análises nele realizadas desde que foi criado para subsidiar o seu combate. Nesta série Informação para Ação na Covid-19 será apresentado um balanço do conjunto de documentos (notas e relatórios técnicos, boletins, ensaios, informes, recomendações, ensaios, artigos, entre outros) produzidos em resposta à pandemia. Cada volume da série se estrutura em torno de um tema: aspectos globais da pandemia e da diplomacia em saúde; cenários epidemiológicos e vigilância em saúde; as políticas e a gestão dos serviços e sistemas de saúde; orientações para os cuidados e a saúde dos trabalhadores da saúde; impactos sociais e desigualdades sociais na pandemia. Com a publicação destes estudos em livros instantâneos e de acesso aberto colocamos à disposição do público o conjunto de informações e conhecimentos gerados no âmbito do Observatório Covid-19 Fiocruz, realizamos um balanço e uma reflexão sobre como chegamos ao cenário atual e apontamos caminhos para um futuro próximo. E, ao mesmo tempo, mantemos o registro histórico desse conhecimento produzido a quente, no calor da hora.
... While molecules per se are private goods as traded and priced on markets, their reliable supply amounts to a public good as it ensures the operation of modern economies and the creation of welfare. As a rich literature makes similar claims for areas as diverse as migration, education, health, or climate (Brown, Yamey, & Wamala, 2014;Falkner, 2013;Kaul, Conçeição, Le Goulven, & Mendoza, 2003;Moon, 2009;Mundy, Green, Lingard, & Verger, 2016). ...
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Although IPE and GPP overlap conceptionally and empirically, there is a case for keeping GPP and IPE analytically distinct. To simplify: GPP tells us why we need international regimes for energy, while IPE tells us why we only have incomplete ones. Although many scholars draw on both sets of literatures, the two approaches to the study of energy market, regulation and politics entail asking different types of questions based on distinct theories and assumptions. The central propositions in this article are that i) in a rapidly changing world of energy scholars from both camps need to be aware of and open to insights from the other school; ii) that the distinction between market-focused liberal scholars on one hand and security-oriented or realist scholars on the other is increasingly important; and iii) that although IPE and GPP scholars can fruitfully accommodate insights from each others literature, the two approaches to the study of energy policy are best valued by their own analytical contribution-even as we grapple with new, cross-cutting issues such as the geopolitics and geo-economics of global energy transitions.
... This is particularly the case with public funders, who are accountable to taxpayers. These instruments and concomitant dilemmas build on the experiences of nearly two decades of product development partnerships in global health 70 . As precedents and extended processes of collective learning, these may have contributed to the speed with which CEPI was formed. ...
Background: The formation of the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI) sheds light on how conditions for global collaboration are created and sustained. This is a multi-stakeholder initiative whose objective is to be a global financing and coordination mechanism that supports the development of vaccines against epidemic infectious disease. Methods: The paper reports from an empirical study that documented and analysed CEPI’s formation from idea in mid-2015 to its formal launch in January 2017, using a qualitative approach and analytical perspectives from international relations and the governance of socio-technical systems to explain decisions and outcomes. Results: The accomplishment of forming CEPI in only 15 months was possible due to a substantial operational capacity among founding partners for groundwork and coordinating parallel processes, multiple individuals in leadership roles as well the flexibility offered by an interim phase. Findings also suggest that key alignments needed to be found between diverging positions on collective action for technology development, revealing the complexity and dynamics of interests among actors. The study further identifies key institutional conditions that interests clustered around, which CEPI needed manage in order to become operational. Conclusions: The study concludes that while successful in developing a new nexus between global public health, vaccine innovation and pandemic response, CEPI was in 2017 still in the process of defining the nature of its authority within that landscape. Finally, the CEPI formation process bears significance for the global coordinated response to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic in 2020. As features of the CEPI formation represent persistent challenges in global health collaboration, the study offers both a backdrop and lessons learned.
... The importance of the GPG concept for understanding processes in global health has been thoroughly analyzed by Richard Smith et al. [7], which is still the most comprehensive text on GPGs for health. There are only a few more recent texts by other authors which use the GPG concept within the context of GHG, in particular Scott Barrett ([37]; [25], chapters 2 and 7), Suerie Moon [38], Joshua Michaud [39], David Gartner [40], David ...
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The article aims at giving a comprehensive overview on controlling communicable diseases (CCD) and discusses the implications of providing CCD as a global public good (GPG). After a short introductory summary of
... S modelem globálních veřejných statků pracuje hned několik existujících studií, které se zaměřují na dílčí oblasti globalizace, zejména pak na problém mezinárodního poskytování zdravotní péče coby globálního veřejného statku [Chen, Evans a Cash, 1999;Smith, Beaglehole, Woodward, Drager a Smith, 2003;Brown, Cueto a Fee, 2006;Moon, 2009;Weir a Mykhalovskiy, 2014], na poskytování globálních veřejných statků občanskou společností [Einarsson, 2001;Kaul, 2001a;Henderson, 2002], na význam globálních veřejných statků při poskytování rozvojové pomoci [Raffer, 1999;Kaul, 2001b;Morrissey, Velde a Hewitt, 2002;Guillaumont, 2002;Kaul, 2005;Mascarenhas a Sandler, 2005], na status životního prostředí jako druhu globálního veřejného statku [Nordhaus, 1999;Saurin, 2001;Unnevehr, 2004;Milinski, Semmann, Krambeck a Marotzke, 2006] či na status energetické bezpečnosti jako globálního veřejného statku [Gupta a Ivanova, 2009;Goldthau, 2011;Karlsson-Vinkhuyzen, Jollands a Staudt, 2012]. Mnoho sfér globalizace se však dosud prostřednictvím teorie globálních veřejných statků neanalyzovalo. ...
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The debate surrounding the provision of welfare by state institutions has been widely discussed in the field of political economics since the 1930s. Related research also focuses on welfare supply at an international system level. This article assesses whether international cooperation in the area of sharing remote sensing data leads to the supply of global public goods, which to date has not yet been discussed in related scholarly literature. The supply of global public goods is assessed within the GEO international regime and leads to the use of the non-rivalrous GEOSS, which can be accessed by every socioeconomic group in every UN member country including future generations. However, providing the benefit of GEOSS is not always favourable because of the low number of financially participating consumers.
... Significant challenges in global health over the past decade have occurred in the "framing, norms, and policy approaches to address the problem of globally inequitable access to drugs, diagnostics, vaccines or other health tools" (Moon, 2008). Improving access to essential medicines represent a pressing intervention to address health inequalities, the current world burden of disease and to assist in the development of communities (Banerjee, 2006). ...
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This essay talks about the varied complexities of Sowa Rigpa as a new entrant into the category of Indian systems of medicine. As a cross-cultural medical system its petty commodity nature of industrial production, Sowa Rigpa warrants some initial state support in terms of knowledge codification efforts, mechanisms to recognize the frugal heterogeneous innovations in practices, and also in utilizing alternative protection mechanisms other than patents. A public good approach would be beneficial for the system as such, to tap the strong potential for innovations in both knowledge and pharmaceutical components and to deal with the exclusions and challenges that the new industrial framework may offer.
India’s pharmaceutical industry is of considerable economic importance—as one of India’s largest manufacturing industries and a major contributor of exports. Yet, it is perhaps of most significance for health—as a major supplier of generic medicines, for which it is sometimes known as the “pharmacy of the world”. The sector faces a number of challenges in order to ensure greater societal benefit from the industry in India. Some of the major issues relate to production in terms of quality and environmental impact, to research in terms of appropriate patent laws and regulating clinical trials, and also to marketing related to prices and access to medicines. Yet the sector, with its distinctive character of consumption and significance for public health, is one where little substantive momentum has emerged around voluntary governance initiatives. Widespread agreement exists on the need for more effective public regulation to maximise the societal benefits of the industry.
The research and development costs of 93 randomly selected new chemical entities (NCEs) were obtained from a survey of 12 U.S.-owned pharmaceutical firms. These data were used to estimate the pre-tax average cost of new drug development. The costs of abandoned NCEs were linked to the costs of NCEs that obtained marketing approval. For base case parameter values, the estimated out-of-pocket cost per approved NCE is $114 million (1987 dollars). Capitalizing out-of-pocket costs to the point of marketing approval at a 9% discount rate yielded an average cost estimate of $231 million (1987 dollars).