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Lancet. 2007 Jul 28; 370(9584):297-298.Several affluent countries have announced donations totalling US$1.5 billion to buy new vaccines that will help eradicate pneumococcal diseases in the world's poorest children. Donations from the UK, Italy, Canada, Russia, and Norway launch what many hope will be a new era to ease the burdens of disease and foster economic growth. Yet only a quarter of the money will be spent on covering the costs of vaccines-three-quarters will go towards extra profits for vaccines that are already profitable. The Advanced Market Commitment (AMC), to which the G8 leaders and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation have committed, is the difficulty. An AMC is a heavily promoted but untried idea for inducing major drug companies to invest in research to discover vaccines for neglected diseases by promising to match the revenues that companies earn from developing a product for affluent markets. By committing to buy a large volume of vaccine at a high price, an AMC creates a whole market in one stroke. However, no moneyis spent until a good product is fully developed. (excerpt)
Development: Seeds of Change. 1987; (4):11-8.3 basic categories of institutions in research and development (R&D) of biotechnology include universities, small biotechnology R&D venture capital financed firms, and transnational corporations in the US and other more developed countries (MDCs). Almost 24 transnationals, which predominantly manufacture pharmaceuticals and petrochemicals, lead the biotechnology industry by contracting research arrangements with universities or venture capital financed firms or by establishing their own R&D, manufacturing, and marketing activities in biotechnology. On the other hand, in less developed countries (LDCs), the private sector plays no role or a relatively small role in biotechnology. National level government programs are developing biotechnology capabilities in some LDCs, however. In MDCs, the move towards privatization of biotechnology, especially with the ability to patent technologies, restricts the free flow of research information, thereby inhibiting the diversity and pace of technological innovation, widening the technological gap between MDCs and LDCs, and thus maintaining LDCs' dependence on MDCs. The leading role of transnational corporations in biotechnology R&D causes skewed research priorities that the corporations determine based on their own global strategies. These research priorities are determined by potential profit, and not by the needs of the LDCs. Even though products of biotechnology have the capability to improve the lives of many in the world, they displace more traditional products of LDCs. For example, sugar will soon be displaced by immobilized enzyme technology produced high fructose, therefore affecting the economies and poor of sugar exporting nations. LDCs must act now so as not to fall behind in the biotechnology revolution, such as establishing their relevance at the grass roots level.
The private sector, the public sector, and donor assistance in economic development: an interpretive essay.
[Washington, D.C.], U.S. Agency for International Development, 1983 Mar. 52 p. (A.I.D. Program Evaluation Discussion Paper No. 16)A retrospective view of the ways in which the public policy of host countries coupled with the actions of donors have led to the growth of a vital private enterprise economy in less developed countries (LDC) is provided for the Agency for International Development (AID). Efforts are concentrated on examining the recent development history of 4 countries: Malawi, Cameroon, Thailand, and Costa Rica. These examinations contain a great deal of information on the process of economic development, the role of private enterprise production activities, the importance of free and competitive markets, and the possibilities of donor intervention to affect the speed and direction of economic development. The studies have revealed that free and competitive markets are efficient institutions for allocating resources, yet governments frequently intervene. In all of the countries studied, economic policy and economic ideology seem unconnected to the existing political system. Donors wishing to encourage private sector growth find themselves in an anomalous situation. Interventions need to be chosen to address contraints but little is known about the constraints inhibiting the growth of proprietal, entrepreneurial, and managerial firms. As a donor, one's role should be to facilitate the expression of the creative energies within the private sector by working with host governments on ways both can provide needed help and reduce unneeded hindrances to market activities.