I+A for Neglected Diseases

I+A for Neglected Diseases

To create an enabling policy environment for I+A, the Program has worked to integrate the vocabulary of tiering and pooling, push and pull financing, and open innovation into the strategic planning and priority process of various intergovernmental agencies and commissions. Having contributed in recent years to the Institute of Medicine’s U.S. Commitment to Global Health study, the UN Development Programme (UNDP) internal strategy planning process, the Drugs for Neglected Diseases Initiative strategy on management of intellectual property, and TDR’s Thematic Reference Group on innovation and technology platforms, the GHTA Program contributes to policy convenings and conducts research scholarship, some examples of which follow.

Global Commission on HIV and the Law. Launched by the UNDP’s Administrator in June 2010, the Commission focuses on some of the most challenging legal and human rights issues in the context of HIV, including laws and practices that facilitate or impede treatment access. The Program was called upon to provide one of three commissioned papers on how IP will shape the future of innovation for HIV-related technologies. This paper, “Approaches to Intellectual Property and Innovation that Meet the Public Health Challenge of AIDS,” co-authored with Cecilia Oh, discusses tiering and pooling as well as push and pull financing mechanisms as applied to technologies for treating AIDS.

Harvard International Law Journal Symposium and publication. Following the 2011 annual symposium, hosted by the Harvard International Law Journal, Dr. So coauthored a paper with Rachel Sachs, a former GHTA staffer and now Harvard Law student, on “Making Intellectual Property Work for Global Health.” The research for this paper grew out of the Program’s work for the UN Development Programme on these issues.

International Conference on Improving Use of Medicines. Held once every seven years, the International Conference on Improving Use of Medicines (ICIUM) brings together many of the world’s researchers on pharmaceutical policy issues. The GHTA Program brought a team, including Dr. So, our Associate in Research Quentin Ruiz-Esparza, and our then third-year medical student and former staffer Chris Manz, to Antalya, Turkey for the conference in November 2011, presenting posters and presentations on the following topics:

  • At the invitation of conference organizers, GHTA put together, moderated and presented at a plenary session panel on “Can Markets Work to Scale Up Access and Rational Drug Use.” The well-attended session drew attention to the contrasting approaches of market interventions, such as the Affordable Medicines Facility for Malaria (AMFm). AMFm subsidizes the price of artemisinin combination therapies in hopes that the price will compete effectively against irrational and ineffective treatments like chloroquine and sulfadoxine-pyrimethamine to which there is already significant drug resistance. How can such market interventions complement traditional, public sector, public health interventions in ensuring both availability and affordability of malaria treatment for those in need?
  • The Program’s presented both a poster and a presentation entitled, “Jumping into the Pool: Is It the Shallow or the Deep End?” This took a closer look at the tiering used in pooling arrangements, ranging from the Medicines Patent Pool to the Pool for Open Innovation Against Neglected Tropical Diseases.
  • Our student poster, by Chris Manz, on the American Medical Student Association’s PharmFree Scorecard (Chris was then Chair of AMSA’s PharmFree project), received one of the highest abstract scores. Chris’ poster presented the preliminary findings of a survey that examined the quality of conflict of interest policies at academic medical centers in the United States, with the intent of promoting policy transparency and encouraging schools to implement stronger policies.