The U.S. and its wealthy allies are moving to approve a first-of-its-kind plan to encourage pharmaceuticals companies to develop vaccines for diseases that afflict countries too poor to afford them.
Finance ministers from the Group of Eight major industrialized powers, who met here this weekend, expect to approve a pilot project when they next get together, in Washington in April.
Under an advance market commitment plan, the G-8 nations would promise to subsidize the purchase of new vaccines — for between $800 million and $6 billion — if pharmaceuticals companies develop ones that meet standards of efficacy and safety. Once the G-8 spends the pledged amount, the drug companies would sell the vaccine at a set discount in the developing world.
It’s a hard problem, to balance the accountability and innovation of privatized pharmaceutical companies while trying to ensure that they sell their products for a price that will allow the medicine to be used by everyone who actually needs it. We’re glad to see the U.S. making a stab at solving it.