Separating the cost of biopharmaceutical research and development from the final market price of medicines would misalign incentives, raise bureaucratic costs, and limit innovation.
Replacing patents with prizes to spur drug development is the idea of the moment. But this so-called “delinkage” won’t deliver the innovation and low-cost medicines claimed by its supporters, writes Philip Stevens.
Delinkage is not a silver bullet and can be politicised this is what is being discussed at the joint World Health Organization and Government of India meeting in New Delhi which is part of an international push led by countries, including India, and backed by NGOs, to slash drug prices.
The delinkage agenda under discussion in Geneva, while well-intentioned, is a distraction from practical solutions to increase access to medicines.