Thomas Pogge


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.

This talk is one of three TEDx­Can­berra Talks to be selec­ted to fea­ture on the main web­site. Fewer than one per­cent of all TEDx Talks around the world are selec­ted for this honor.

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.