Global Health Ideas

Finding global health solutions through innovation and technology

Pharmaceuticals for Global Health, 15 Minutes with Victoria Hale

The “News of the Week” from the latest issue of Science (December 1, 2006) has to do with drug research for developing regions and the IP protection system (SEE — DRUG RESEARCH: WHO Panel Weighs Radical Ideas).

globalrxmarketv1.gifAs you can see from the Science figure, the drug market is heavily focused on the US, Japan and Europe (although I think this will change significantly in the next 15-20 years). There is a clear lack of drug development for neglected diseases because there is no market and the current global patent regime prohibits generic knock offs/cheaper alternatives to treat people with diseases such as HIV/AIDS at an affordable price. There is contentious debate over this issue. From the Science article – the Medicines for Malaria Venture president Chris Hentschel says: “If people spent less time thinking about IP and more about other things, we would make more progress.”

So what do you do? Victoria Hale decided to do something. Dr. Hale, who has training in academia, with the FDA and with industry decided to start her own non-profit pharma company, the first in the US. She was interviewed for the most recent issue of Stanford Social Innovation and Review. The interview discusses her mission, how she has brought her first drug to market for visceral leishmaniasis, the cost of drug development ($17 million in this case), drug pricing and some discussion on patent issues. Well worth reading.

Finally I encourage you to check out SSIR, they have some good articles on social innovation and also a several podcasts from leading social entrepreneurs (unfortunately there is no text for the podcasts).

UPDATE: Somewhat related to pharmaceuticals/drug companies, on the technology development front there are two recent news items about vaccine technology. First, the NY Times features a story on pneumonia which the the largest global killer of children, I saw this via the CGD health policy blog. Second, Dr. Buttery discusses the malaria vaccine roadmap, a goal Dr. Buttery has heard about for the past 40 years.

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Written by Aman

December 5, 2006 at 9:04 am

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