Report |

Financing Medical Innovation Through Alternative Mechanisms

How to boost R&D for a low-cost, point-of-care rapid diagnostic test and better drugs for tuberculosis

On 11 April 2008, Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) convened a one-day consultation of tuberculosis (TB) public health experts, scientists, diagnostics and drug developers, health economists and intellectual property specialists aiming to feed into the World Health Organization Intergovernmental Working Group on Public Health Innovation and Intellectual Property (WHO IGWG).

The IGWG is tasked with finding new ways to finance essential health R&D. WHO was asked to stimulate the development of proposals that focus on separating the link between paying for the cost of R&D and the price of the end product.

The IGWG negotiations offer unprecedented opportunities. For the first time, governments and the public health community are taking on the task of addressing the consequences of relying on patents to finance health R&D – consequences which include the lack of health needs-driven R&D and barriers to the developing countries’ access to new diagnostics, drugs and vaccines.

The meeting objective was to contribute to developing proposals that can be taken up in the context of the IGWG. To translate the talk into action, in sum, by grounding the IGWG process in the reality of tuberculosis R&D needs.

This paper summarises the outcomes from this one-day consultation.