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Thursday, December 29th 2005

An HIV Vaccine Killed By Costs…

An NIH exec is claiming the private sector will never develop an HIV vaccine since such would be of little commercial value.

As Asymmetrical Information says:

An AIDS vaccine would eliminate the value of retroviral therapies. Since those are expensive now, an AIDS vaccine would only be worthwhile to develop if it could be priced high — say $100,000 a pop…[b]ut Merck, or whichever poor schlub actually invested the damn thing could not charge Africa, or anyone, $100,000 for a dose of AIDS vaccine. Public opinion would force them to give it away for free, or for a very low price.

Personally I lean very much towards AI’s reasoning on this situation. You can read a little bit more, and where I found Asymmetrical Information’s post, at In The Pipeline.

Maybe the answer is for the world’s wealthy nations to guarantee to pay a “reasonable” (or unreasonable but profitable) price for an HIV vaccine to be used in the third world. Unless of course the national health organizations of the west truly believe they can develop an HIV vaccine on their own without major help from private industry.

Then again, as can be expected, I don’t think the government should be funding this anyway. Or funding sending a future vaccine to hard hit countries. Step up charity; and it can work that way.