PHC Lunch Series Recap – Thomas Pogge

The brain child of Dr. Thomas Pogge, the Health Impact Fund(HIF) is creating a new incentive system to affect change in the pharmaceutical industry.   Pogge described the HIF as a pay for performance system to improve the distribution and affordability of medicines and decrease the global burden of disease.  In the current system, patents, which allow large markups, reward innovators but consequently medicines are inaccessible to poor countries. In addition, since developing nations lack financial resources, innovators rarely work on research and development for medicines specific to diseases affecting those living in poor countries.  The goal is to support and encourage new research while guaranteeing affordable access to new medicines.

Under the HIF system, innovators would opt to register their new product with the HIF and agree to distribute it globally at a low cost making it available to low income countries.  The innovator would be rewarded for a time based on the health impact of the medicine, which would be measured in QALYs or Quality Adjusted Life Years.  After the reward period, innovators would agree to allow generic manufacturing of the medicine.

Dr. Pogge discussed the current pilot project being launched in collaboration with Johnson & Johnson and expressed his hope that the HIF will continue to expand in the future.

Dr. Pogge is Director of the Global Justice Program and the Leitner Professor of Philosophy and International Affairs at Yale.