Description: A proposal to the WHO for a \$250m prize system for Chagas disease, incorporating product prizes, technical challenge prizes and best contribution prizes.
Start date: Proposed in 2009.
The Chagas Disease Prize Fund was a proposal to the WHO made in 2009 by Bangladesh, Barbados, Bolivia and Suriname.1
The proposal envisaged three kinds of prize to be awarded by the fund:
Chagas Disease Product Prizes (CDPP)
These would be awarded to qualifying products which entered developing markets and made a health impact.
Where multiple products qualified, the money would be distributed according to health impact.
Technology Challenge Prizes
Best Contribution Prizes
The Prize fund would also operate a patent pool which any prize recipients would be mandated to join.
The Prize fund would be funded by governments and donors. \$250m was proposed as a figure for the fund. The prize would be held by the WHO or Pan American Health Organisation (PAHO), and selection would be carried out by an expert committee.
In 2008 an earlier similar proposal was made by Barbados and Bolivia to the Innovation and Intellectual Property (IGWG).2
Scope: This prize fund targets Chagas Disease Prize Fund only, which is a neglected disease. The fund would apply internationally, and would reward various stages of research.
Access: Through the patent pool mechanism, the Chagas Disease Prize Fund would increase competition and lower drug prices. Distribution is incentivised by making health impact a determinant of funds received, and by requiring drug entries to be available on developing markets.
Innovation: Some positive impact is mandatory for the receipt of the prize, and where more than one entry qualifies, the money will be distributed according to health impact. Incentives for the main prize are thus reasonably linked to health impact.
Efficiency: AT \$250m, the fund would require considerable investment. The fund would be market-based to the extent that competition would be incentivised in manufacture.
Governability: The fund makes use of existing international governance structures, but would also require the creation of a specialist committee The selection procedures would need to be robust against political interference.
Political Feasibility: Nothing came of the Chagas Fund proposal. This may be because international agreement is difficult to achieve, or because the proposal offers no material benefits to the citizens of wealthy nations.
The Chagas Disease Prize Fund explicitly cited the Medical Patent Pool (MPP) as a possible model for its patent pool. The MPP functions through voluntary subscription by patent holders, whereas under the Chagas Disease Prize Fund membership of the patent pool would be a condition of receiving the prize.
The 3P proposal is composite and disease focused (in this case tuberculosis), like the Chagas Disease Prize Fund. It too would involve both a patent pool and prizes for specific products. The 3P proposal also envisages direct funding of research, which is not part of the Chagas Disease Prize Fund.
The Chagas Disease Prize Fund bears similarities to both individual prize schemes and more comprehensive remuneration funds:
Like the Health Impact Fund (HIF), the Medical Innovation Prize Fund (MIPF), Cancer Innovation Fund (CIF), and the Australian Democrats Prize Proposal, the Chagas Prize Fund would remunerate innovators based on health impact. Unlike these funds, the Chagas Prize would award one-off prizes rather than long-term remuneration.3
The WHO global consortium incorporates milestone and end prizes, though not explicitly tied to health impact.
In the same year as the Chagas Disease proposal, a nearly identical proposal was made to the WHO for tuberculosis.4
The Donor Prize Fund was also proposed in 2009. Like the Chagas Prize, this would create an optional innovation prize fund. Receipt of the prize would be conditional on the licensing of patents to generic suppliers, which is in effect what the Chagas patent pool would achieve.5
Many prizes do not focus on distribution like the Chagas Prize, and act more as incentives for research.6 This is also true of Prize4Life and the Archon Genomics X-Prize.[^25]
Pan American Health Organisation (PAHO)
WHO member states
Stakeholders on board:
The proposal: “Chagas Disease Prize Fund for the Development of New Treatments, Diagnostics and Vaccines.” PROPOSAL by Bangladesh, Barbados, Bolivia and Suriname, 2009. http://www.who.int/phi/Bangladesh_Barbados_Bolivia_Suriname_ChagasPrize.pdf.
Earlier proposal: Barbados and Bolivia. “Prize for the Development of New Treatments for Chagas Disease,” n.d. https://www.keionline.org/misc-docs/b_b_igwg/prop2_chagas_prize.pdf.