Technology innovation for infectious diseases in the developing world
Program on Global Health and Technology Access, Sanford School of Public Policy and Duke Global Health Institute, Duke University, 302 Towerview Drive, CB# 90312, Durham, North Carolina, 27708, USA
Infectious Diseases of Poverty 2012, 1:2 doi:10.1186/2049-9957-1-2Published: 25 October 2012
Enabling innovation and access to health technologies remains a key strategy in combating infectious diseases in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs). However, a gulf between paying markets and the endemicity of such diseases has contributed to the dearth of R&D in meeting these public health needs. While the pharmaceutical industry views emerging economies as potential new markets, most of the world’s poorest bottom billion now reside in middle-income countries--a fact that has complicated tiered access arrangements. However, product development partnerships--particularly those involving academic institutions and small firms--find commercial opportunities in pursuing even neglected diseases; and a growing pharmaceutical sector in BRICS countries offers hope for an indigenous base of innovation. Such innovation will be shaped by 1) access to building blocks of knowledge; 2) strategic use of intellectual property and innovative financing to meet public health goals; 3) collaborative norms of open innovation; and 4) alternative business models, some with a double bottom line. Facing such resource constraints, LMICs are poised to develop a new, more resource-effective model of innovation that holds exciting promise in meeting the needs of global health.