Roy Widdus discusses reasons for inadequate access to treatment for infectious diseases in developing countries, and reviews methods to address these. Noting that drugs and vaccines may not be available for a number of reasons — including the lack of incentives for their development or inadequate infrastructure for their delivery — the role of public-private partnerships in addressing these issues is outlined. The author suggests that if appropriately motivated, pharmaceutical companies can contribute expertise in product development, manufacturing, marketing and distribution which are lacking in the public sector. A number of recommendations for action are made to the public sector, private sector and public-private partnerships, including:

  • establishing public health priorities for drugs, vaccines, diagnostics and other health products;
  • increasing the use of devices such as licensing, tiered royalties, market segmentation, and tiered pricing to make products more accessible to all in need;
  • estimating the need, demand and uptake for existing and new products in developing countries collaboratively, since the public sector has the data and the private sector has the expertise.

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