Today, after our class on the Coartem challenge, I realized that we all don't like the existing model of innovating, developing and researching new drugs and devices. The least sympathetic crowd because that current model is for profit and because we think it abuses the needy through their need after it uses them for its research. The most sympathetic ones in the group were just realistic and pointed that A) that model works in bringing new innovations and B) Models that were not for profit failed in the past.
And I think the consensus (okay, it came with varying degrees of agreement) was that we have no currently operating and viable alternative.
But I came to think of our group as a highly driven and innovative group, If anything I think it would be a good exercise to brain storm an alternative model ourselves and try to criticize where the strengths and weaknesses lie.
The model I can think of is a sort of consortium of participating governments and NGOs, the consortium acts like the shareholders of an organization with a similar structure to a "pharmaceutical company" that studies, develops and manufactures drugs independently for the top 4 or 5 mortality causes then sells them at cost. The whole process should not be for profit.
Strengths: This model should help provide a not-for-profit producer of drugs with goals that align with the needs of poorer populations. The funds coming from multiple NGOs and governments may help alleviate the cost somewhat and stabilize the funds since they come from multiple sources.
Weaknesses: It is costly, it may cheaper to procure the drugs as they are now than to develop and make them for the members of the consortium and it will need a long time before it can show results.
I'm very enthusiastic that we can find a solution, but then again I just had too much coffee and that could be the reason.