Pharmaceutical Accountability Foundation

When pharmaceutical companies use government incentives to raise prices unjustly, they fail their duty of care.

A better system for innovation on and access to health technologies is possible, driven by public health rather than profit.

Missing medicines and high prices

When pharmaceutical companies accept the incentives offered by national governments to incentivise innovation, they have a duty to serve public health – not only to line their pockets. However, they all too often do not fulfil this duty of care. See below for the broad challenges that get in the way of a better functioning health innovation system, and click on any category to explore more deeply.

Seeking innovation and access

There are solutions that can help refocus medical innovation where it needs to be – on patients, and their needs. For every challenge, there are ideas and proposals for improving the way that the system operates to ensure more equitable, affordable access to needed care. See below for potential solutions linked to the issue they address, and click on any category to explore more deeply.

No product

Medicines development is largely incentivised by profits. This means products that are important for public health but not profitable – such as products for poor and vulnerable populations or treatments for anti-microbial resistant infections – are often not developed.

Better Innovation Models

Innovation models that “delink” the cost of research and development from the eventual price of a medical product offer the potential to separate incentives for research and development from profit and to allow for a more public-health focused agenda.

Access Challenges

Even where products are available, they are often not accessible or affordable for those that need them. There are many reasons for access problems, including monopolies that limit competition, high prices, weak health infrastructure or regulatory barriers.

Improved Access

There are several ways to bring down high prices or limit monopolies that hinder access to medicines. Strategies can include encouraging competition, capping medicine prices, or taking solidarity action on rare or hard-to-treat diseases, among others.

Poor Enabling Environment

The legal and policy environments in which companies operate too often serve industry rather than the public interest. Poorly applied competition law, lack of political will, and other issues can create situations that do not enable innovation and access to medicines.

Strong Enabling Environment

Governments and intergovernmental bodies have the power to set better legislation or to better enforce existing legislation in order to optimise innovation and access to meet pressing public health needs. Public awareness can also play a key role.