[Note: This case study was originally published in 2009. Download a PDF or read the case study here.]
While cutting-edge medical innovations may ordinarily be applied in wealthy nations before they trickle down, if ever, to poorer countries, the opposite to this rule may occur if one product development partnership (PDP), the International Partnership for Microbicides (IPM), succeeds in developing safe and effective products for prevention of HIV/AIDS. IPM, a nonprofit whose donors include the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, 12 governments in North America and Europe, and several international organizations, hopes to create microbicides — products to be used vaginally by women — that will help to prevent the transmission of HIV. These products are based on a number of experimental and approved therapeutic drugs that have been charitably licensed to IPM by private industry.
- Product development partnerships (PDPs) have a growing role in addressing scientific and technical challenges.
- Negotiate licenses with private industry to allow resource-constrained countries widespread access to new, approved prevention technologies and use in future combination therapies.
- When possible, conduct clinical trials in developing countries that have higher disease burden.
- Make use of regulatory mechanisms in developed countries that offer advisory opinions on medical products for global public health application.