Aligning Incentives to Fight Neglected Diseases

Chris Colwell and I recently wrote BIO white paper titled “Ideas to Encourage Innovation for Diseases Without a Market”

Here’s the problem it explores: on average a drug or biologic costs about $1.2 billion to bring to market. But when a disease mainly affects the developing world (e.g., leishmaniasis or dengue haemorrhagic  fever ), it’s difficult to near impossible for a company to recoup its investment costs for developing the drug.

So there is a need for new drugs, but no way for the companies to fund their R&D. What to do?

Some creative thinking is needed about how to provide companies the incentives they need to do the R&D to produce drugs or biologics that treat these diseases.

Some incentives that have been proposed and tried include – but aren’t limited to:

With each idea there are both advantages and challenges or limitations. As always, the devil is in the details. That is, if an idea is implemented in a certain way – it may be a resounding success; however, if it is implemented differently, it could be a failure.

Our paper examines the strengths and weaknesses of several incentives. I hope that the paper will help to inform the dialogue that’s taking place and move it forward.

Read the paper

Learn more about the topic of neglected diseases