Introduction of European priority review vouchers to encourage development of new medicines for neglected diseases.
Every year 1 billion people worldwide are affected by traditionally neglected diseases, such as malaria, tuberculosis, leishmaniasis, and lymphatic filariasis, which impose tremendous public health burdens. Governments, foundations, and drug manufacturers have, however, started to support development of new treatments. European Union Member States have been leaders in implementing so-called push mechanisms (payment for drug development) and pull funding (reward for output), such as the advance market commitment, which creates a market for vaccines by guaranteeing prices. We propose an additional step that could be taken to encourage development of medicines for neglected diseases. A priority review voucher scheme, as is already in place in the USA, would reward a manufacturer that developed a new medicine for neglected diseases with a voucher that could be redeemed for priority review of a future medicine, probably a potential blockbuster drug. Unlike the US system a European voucher would also accelerate pricing and reimbursement decisions. This scheme would be likely to provide substantial benefits to voucher holders, society, and public health organisations.
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