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The antagonism of push and pull strategies, and the current funding campaigns to fight orphan diseases


  • Leoni, Patrick


We argue that an increase in investments in R&D for innovative treatments to eradicate neglected diseases in developing countries leads to a rational decrease in investments in available treatment technologies. In a formal model where the government of a developing country seeks to optimally allocate public resources, we show that the higher the odds of appearance of an innovative treatment, as occurring when investments in R&D increase, the lower the optimal provision of current treatments and other health expenditures. We also show that this phenomenon is aggravated when the opportunity cost of investments in current treatments increases. This implies that welfare in developing countries deteriorates as innovative treatments are more likely to become available. We also describe an insurance scheme that remedies these issues, and that leads to Pareto-optimal allocations regardless of the investment level in R&D for innovative treatments.

Suggested Citation

  • Leoni, Patrick, 2011. "The antagonism of push and pull strategies, and the current funding campaigns to fight orphan diseases," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 72(2), pages 202-205, January.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:socmed:v:72:y:2011:i:2:p:202-205

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Avinash K. Dixit & Robert S. Pindyck, 1994. "Investment under Uncertainty," Economics Books, Princeton University Press, edition 1, number 5474.
    2. Manuel Agosin & Roberto Machado, 2005. "Foreign Investment in Developing Countries: Does it Crowd in Domestic Investment?," Oxford Development Studies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 33(2), pages 149-162.
    3. Ernst R. Berndt & Rachel Glennerster & Michael R. Kremer & Jean Lee & Ruth Levine & Georg Weizs├Ącker & Heidi Williams, 2007. "Advance market commitments for vaccines against neglected diseases: estimating costs and effectiveness," Health Economics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 16(5), pages 491-511.
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