Bulletin of the World Health Organization

Advance price or purchase commitments to create markets for treatments for diseases of poverty: lessons from three policies

Adrian Towse & Hannah Kettler

ABSTRACT

New drugs and vaccines are needed for tackling diseases of poverty in low- and middle-income countries. The lack of effective demand or market for these products translates into insufficient investment being made in research and development to meet the need for them. Many have advocated cost-reducing (push) and market-enhancing (pull) incentives to tackle this problem. Advance price or purchase commitments (APPCs) funded by international agencies and governments offer one way forward. This paper looks at design issues for APPCs for drugs and vaccines for diseases of poverty drawing on experience and lessons from three case studies: the introduction of the meningitis C vaccine in the United Kingdom; the Orphan Drug Act (ODA) in the United States of America (US); and the newly legislated US Project BioShield for bioterrorist interventions. Our key conclusion is that that APPCs have the potential to be a powerful tool and should be tried. The correct structure and design may only be determined through the process of taking action to set one up.

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