The G8 and markets for vaccines

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From the editorial, Harnessing science for the poorest, in today's Washington Post:

Last year's [G8] summit aired an elegant idea to have donors commit in advance to buying certain new vaccines if private firms bring them to market. Donors would express a desire for a medical innovation -- for example, a vaccine for malaria -- and promise to buy a set number of doses at a set price, thus creating a financial carrot for pharmaceutical research establishments.

In April the G-8 finance ministers resolved to test the purchase-commitment idea on the pneumococcus virus, a cause of deadly pneumonia and meningitis. But the plan needs another push from this weekend's summit in Russia, and health officials don't seem confident about getting it. It is hard to think of a worthier experiment. Unlike most aid programs, advance purchase commitments cost nothing unless they succeed. And if they do succeed -- if they accelerate the development of vaccines for pneumonia and meningitis and later for malaria and AIDS -- they will be more than worth paying for.

And now read those last two sentences again, for good measure.

Previous posts on markets for vaccines here, here, here and here.

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