December 1, 2008

Georgetown University and Incentives for Global Health hosted the symposium Making New Medicines Accessible to All: The Health Impact Fund.

Pharmaceuticals hold the promise of saving many lives around the world. However, the cost of research and development of new medicines is often prohibitive. To provide wide access to the most effective pharmaceuticals, prices need to be low enough for people to afford—but low prices do not create strong incentives for innovators to invest in research and development.

The Health Impact Fund (HIF) is a new way of stimulating research and development of life-saving pharmaceuticals. The proposed Fund is an optional mechanism that offers pharmaceutical innovators a supplementary reward based on the health impact of their products if they agree to sell those products at cost. This Fund is to be financed mainly by governments and will incentivize innovation and increase access to medicines that meet critical health needs.

More information, including the full text of the proposal, is available here.

The American launch of the HIF was held on the afternoon of December 1st at Georgetown University, building on momentum from a series of international forums and events. This event helped raise awareness and support for this new mechanism at a moment of transition between presidential administrations. Invited participants included prominent members of the academic, corporate and governmental sectors, and it was held on the same day as World AIDS Day, December 1st.