Finding Cures for Tropical Diseases: Is Open Source an Answer?
PLOS Medicine, Vol. 1, p. 183, 2004
Posted: 6 Apr 2005
Only about 1% of newly developed drugs are for tropical diseases, such as African sleeping sickness and dengue fever. While patent incentives and commercial pharmaceutical companies have made Western health care the envy of the world, the commercial model works only if companies can sell enough patented products to cover their R&D costs. The model thus fails for diseases found largely in the developing world, where markets for patented products are tiny. Any solution to the problem of tropical diseases must recognize the need for rigid cost-containment. An open source approach to identifying promising drug candidates would keep costs down by relying on volunteer scientific labor, low-cost or donated computational resources, competitive bidding for development, and competitive production.
Keywords: open source, neglected disease, patent
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