In this talk at TEDxCanberra 2011, ANU and Yale academic and ethicist, Professor Thomas Pogge outlines an idea that could revolutionise health outcomes and distribution of pharmaceuticals in both the developed and developing world. By reforming harmful supranational regulations, argues for developing a complement to the patent system to stimulate pharmaceutical innovations that would be accessible, without delay, to poor and affluent patients alike around the world.
The intellectual property regime enshrined in the WTO Treaty does not work well for medicines. Patent rewards fail to stimulate research of the diseases of the poor and engender high prices that delay access to new drugs for a majority of humankind. Complementing patent incentives, the Health Impact Fund would offer to reward new medicines according to their worldwide health impact on condition they are sold everywhere at the cost of manufacture. By paying for pharmaceutical innovations via the tax system rather than through product mark-ups (reflected in insurance premiums), the world’s affluent can stimulate important innovations more cost-effectively and without excluding the poor from their benefits.
A philosopher at Yale and the ANU, Pogge works with a stellar interdisciplinary and international team on piloting the HIF idea and getting governments to collaborate toward its implementation.