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Affordable medicine plan goes global
Date:11/14/2008

An innovative plan to get new life-saving drugs into the hands of millions of people around the world who need medicines but can't afford the massive costs will be unveiled to key decision makers in London and Washington over the coming weeks.

"Pharmaceuticals have become an increasingly important part of health care, and you see that in the soaring amounts of money spent on them in developed countries like Canada and developing countries," says Aidan Hollis, an associate professor of economics at the University of Calgary and a key architect of the Health Impact Fund.

The steep cost of drugs has contributed to the deaths of millions of people in the developing world from diseases such as HIV-AIDS says Hollis. "And we're seeing this now play out with many new cancer-care drugs that are priced at a level even people in developed countries can't afford."

The Health Impact Fund, devised by Hollis and Thomas Pogge, Leitner Professor of philosophy and international affairs at Yale, will be presented to key government leaders, international aid agencies, NGOs, and pharmaceutical company representatives at Oxford, Cambridge, London, and Georgetown universities over the next three weeks.

"Currently, funding for drug innovation is based on people in rich countries paying taxes and drug insurance premiums to cover the exorbitant costs. Unfortunately, to sustain this system, poor people get excluded and the world is mainly comprised of poor people," says Hollis.

Hollis and Pogge propose a 'pay for performance' scheme in which drug companies would have the option to register their products with the HIF and sell the product for no more than the cost of production and distribution. In exchange, they would receive a stream of payments based on the assessed global health impact of each drug. The bigger the impact on worldwide health, the bigger the payout. And if there's no measurable health impact, there's no reward. Firms would o
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Contact: James Stevenson
jlsteve@ucalgary.ca
403-210-6308
University of Calgary
Source:Eurekalert

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