Commercialising neglected diseases the 'wrong way'
Donors should think carefully before committing funds earmarked for vaccines to the Advanced Market Commitment (AMC) model, says Donald W. Light in this Lancet article.
In the AMC model, donors encourage drug companies to develop vaccines for neglected diseases by promising to match the revenues they would earn for the product in a more profitable market.
But Light argues that AMCs shift the focus of the humanitarian movement from eradicating diseases of poor people to supporting a worldwide for-profit market.
The GAVI Alliance and G8 leaders have proposed including pneumococcal vaccines as part of an AMC pilot run. But according to Light, the concept is not applicable to pneumococcal vaccines, because they have already been developed and the clinical trials funded.
For the pilot run, the AMC model has set the vaccine price at US$5 or more, yet Light estimates that the vaccines can be manufactured for as little as US$1.25 a dose.
Using the AMC model would mean 300 million or fewer children vaccinated — instead of 1.2 billion at the lower price — with 80 per cent of donations going towards profits for the manufacturers.
Light argues that the emphasis should be on reaching the maximum number of children whose lives can be changed by inoculation.
He suggests that drug companies could be pressed for licences so that manufacturers in developing countries can compete for the long-term contracts, aiding their economic development.
Link to full article in The Lancet*
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