Evaluating Product Development Partnerships: Beyond Quantitative Metrics
Public–private partnerships (PPPs) have been promoted as a means of overcoming the inefficiency of the public sector and of bringing in the advantages of private sector skills and approaches. PPPs involved in product development – ‘product development partnerships’ (PDPs) – are being promoted as a means of incentivising the development of health products for a number of diseases, from high-profile ones like malaria to lesser known diseases such as Chagas disease (a tropical parasitic disease). These ‘neglected diseases’1 are those that predominantly affect populations in developing countries, who lack the purchasing power to buy the medicines they need (if such medicines exist at all). As a result, there are many diseases which do not trigger sufficient market incentives to stimulate private sector investment into R&D. The argument for the use of a PDP mechanism to incentivise neglected disease product development therefore tends to be framed in standard neoclassical (micro-) economic terms, as one of market failure,2 PDPs being seen as a way of overcoming the fact that solutions for these diseases are not being produced through traditional market mechanisms (i.e. by the private pharmaceutical sector). The simplest way of explaining this argument is that supply does not equal demand, as a result of problems affecting both the supply and the demand side.
KeywordsPrivate Partnership Social Technology Human African Trypanosomiasis Innovation Study Meso Level
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