Wednesday 4 February 2009

WHO seeks $147bn -- can it be done for less?

An interesting piece in the excellent Intellectual Property Watch ("WHO Puts Nearly $150 Billion Price Tag On Global R&D Strategy For Neglected Diseases" by Kaitlin Mara) reports on a new document from the World Health Organization which estimates funding needs for the implementation of its strategy on global public health and intellectual property. According to this article,
"Estimated needs total more than US$2 billion for the years 2009 to 2015 in order to build capacity to innovate and to deliver health products, engage in technology transfer and in the application and management of intellectual property, promote new research and development and sustainable financing mechanisms for that R&D, and establish monitoring systems. It also budgets an additional US $147 billion for the actual cost of research, including education of researchers and infrastructure building, noting that this number is difficult to determine ahead of time".
IP Finance is curious to know whether it is possible to compare and contrast the WHO's budget for neglected diseases with the sort of business plan that the private sector might conjecture, given (i) the availability of IP protection but (ii) the existence of only a small market or one with limited purchasing power.

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