Opinion Piece Discusses, Raises Questions On Sanders’s Plan For HIV Drug Innovation

Forbes: Will The Bernie Sanders $3 Billion Prize For New HIV/AIDS Drugs Stimulate Innovation?
John LaMattina, senior partner at PureTech Ventures

“It’s no secret that Senator Bernie Sanders has little respect for the drug industry, and this is driven home in a recent position paper on the need for new HIV/AIDS drugs entitled ‘Working to Create an AIDS and HIV-Free Generation.’ … Would the Sanders Prize Fund spur innovation for new HIV/AIDS drugs? Actually, it might have the opposite effect. A CEO could decide that investing precious R&D resources into an area where only one winner will be declared — a winner who might have to share the prize with others — wasn’t worth the risk. Beyond going through the normal rigors of R&D, you have to bank on the fact that you’ll be first. Plus, there would be no guarantee that the $3 billion wouldn’t be split 10 ways. In addition, there is no way that you’d invest hundreds of millions of dollars in a manufacturing plant to make the new drug for the thousands who would need it. Thus, it’s likely that most companies would DROP their HIV/AIDS R&D, making it even more difficult to find the next breakthrough. Sanders has a noble vision of making drugs affordable for all. That’s a real problem. But this isn’t the solution” (3/15).

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