Thomas Pogge

The Health Impact Fund: enhancing justice and efficiency in global health
Date: 21 May 2014

About the talk:
The concept of global justice acknowledges the deep interconnections of a globalized world, and traces individual deprivations back to political and economic structures. It allows us to view events as effects of how our social world is structured and organized — of our laws and conventions, practices and social institutions.

At least a third of all human beings die prematurely from causes that access to better medical treatment could avert. One culprit is the existing regime for rewarding pharmaceutical innovations. It provides incentives for the development and distribution of new medicines, but it also excludes poor people from their benefits. Professor Pogge spoke about The Health Impact Fund, which is a complementary mechanism intended to fill the gaps left by the current regime. It would give pharmaceutical innovators the option to be rewarded according to the incremental health impact of their product rather than through patent-protected mark-ups. The HIF would stimulate the development of high-impact medicines, especially for currently neglected diseases, would ensure that such products are available everywhere at no more than the lowest feasible cost of manufacture and distribution, and would encourage innovators to market such medicines with the aim of reducing the global disease burden in the most cost-effective way. The HIF is currently being piloted in India with an important new medicine.

About the speaker:  Thomas Pogge is the Director of the Global Justice Program and the Leitner Professor of Philosophy and International Affairs at Yale University. With support from the Australian Research Council, the UK-based BUPA Foundation and the European Commission (7th Framework) he currently heads a team effort towards developing a complement to the pharmaceutical patent regime that would improve access to advanced medicines for the poor worldwide ( The program has a special interest in the evolution of severe poverty and its relationship with public health. It is based at the Whitney and Betty MacMillan Center for International and Area Studies at Yale University.

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