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Neglected infectious diseases: are push and pull incentive mechanisms suitable for promoting research?

Mueller-Langer, Frank (2011): Neglected infectious diseases: are push and pull incentive mechanisms suitable for promoting research?

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Abstract

Infectious diseases are among the main causes of death and disability in developing countries, and they are a major reason for the health disparity between rich and poor countries. One of the reasons for this public health tragedy is a lack of lifesaving essential medicines, which either do not exist or badly need improvements. In this article, we analyse which of the push and pull mechanisms proposed in the recent literature may serve to promote research into neglected infectious diseases. A combination of push programs that subsidise research inputs through direct funding and pull programs that reward research output rather than research input may be the appropriate strategy to stimulate research into neglected diseases. On the one hand, early-stage (basic) research should be supported through push mechanisms, such as research grants or publicly financed research institutions. On the other hand, pull mechanisms, such as prize funds that link reward payments to the health impacts of effective medicines, have the potential to stimulate research into neglected diseases.

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