New Study Makes Case for Innovative Medicines 31/01/2014 by Julia Fraser for Intellectual Property Watch Leave a Comment Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to email this to a friend (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window)A new pharmaceutical industry-backed study draws attention to the value of innovative medicines in reducing healthcare costs and to the wider society that goes beyond clinical and personal values. However, in middle income countries, national prioritisation and improvements in healthcare infrastructure are needed to maximise the value of medicinal innovation, the study found. The report by Charles River Associates, Assessing the Value of Biopharmaceutical Innovation in Key Therapy Areas in Middle Income Countries looked at the value of medicine in five key therapy areas, a mix of communicable and non-communicable diseases, in high-income countries (HICs) and middle-income countries (MICs). However, Greg Perry, executive director of the Medicines Patent Pool and a speaker at the event, pointed out that of the MICs chosen for the study most were from the BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa) group, and he would like to see a report that covers a wider area. Director Evelyne Sauty from Merck Sharp and Dohme was also there to present work done by Merck on a vaccine against rotavirus. The report was commissioned, and presented on 29 January in an event hosted at the World Intellectual Property Organization, by The International Federation of Pharmaceutical Manufacturers & Associations (IFPMA). The findings are summarised here [pdf]. Some of the key findings highlighted by Tim Wilsdon, vice president of CRA, include: Innovative medicines add value in both HICs and MICs to patients, the economy and the wider society, and health related policy should take all these into account In MICs this value can limited by reduced access to treatment, lack of clear national programs and commitment to address the disease, and inadequate healthcare infrastructures Both incremental and radical innovations bring value, and The relationship between value and IP “is not simple” “We now have evidence that in MICs, innovative therapies have the potential to create significant value that goes far beyond pricing and reimbursement. Both the social and economic benefits should be taken into account in any calculation of value,” Eduardo Pisani, IFPMA director general, said in the IFPMA press release. Sauty explained the complexity of creating a vaccine for rotavirus. The virus has a complicated structure and can exist in 5 different strains. A vaccine is needed “to reduce the high mortality in the developing world” related to the virus, and “to reduce the economic burden of the disease in high-income countries: hospitalisation, the working day lost and the impact on quality of life,” said Sauty. Sauty showed that the efficacy of the vaccine is remarkably lower in Africa and Asia, and she put this down to worse health conditions and co-infection with other pathogens. Perry presented ongoing work at MPP and commented on the report. He emphasised the “importance of medicine as providing the most cost effective way of saving lives and dealing with healthcare problems.” He welcomed “complimentary actions that are required to ensure that innovate medicines are made available” described in the report, such as infrastructure, diagnosis and the role of governments. Intellectual Property and Value Referring to IP, the report says “the current status of patent protection does not inhibit the value of the innovation to society. The study shows value to society being delivered by both patented and off-patent medicines.” However, Perry said that equal to improved treatments is “ensuring that which is innovative becomes accessible to all who need it.” The role of multiple suppliers and generics to drive down costs in this respect is one of the key reasons that 10 million people living with HIV/AIDS have access to treatments today, he added. Sauty also added that more work is needed to raise awareness of the disease and the value of the vaccination, as well as work towards producing vaccines that are more affordable for lower income countries. Julia Fraser is an intern at Intellectual Property Watch. She is currently training to be a solicitor and will start work at an international law firm in London in 2015. She has a BSc Honours in Biology from Edinburgh University where she developed an interest in public health related intellectual property issues. Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to email this to a friend (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window) Related Julia Fraser may be reached at email@example.com."New Study Makes Case for Innovative Medicines" by Intellectual Property Watch is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.