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On May 2nd, Senators Brownback and Lieberman introduced the Elimination of Neglected Diseases Act of 2006, which would encourage pharmaceutical companies to invest in developing treatments for neglected diseases by extending and restoring "wild card" patents, as Senator Brownback explains in his press release:

In the developing world, millions of people suffer from curable diseases that many of us think no longer exist. The biggest challenge to finding cures for these diseases is the lack of a market....The lack of interest in finding treatments for neglected diseases has led to only a few new drugs in the market. Between 1975 and 1997, only 13 new drugs were developed for neglected diseases. Because pharmaceuticals are expensive to develop, companies have fewer incentives to pursuer therapies when the purchases are primarily poor people. We can encourage pharmaceutical companies by granting a patent extension for a lifestyle drug or a neglected disease product if they make the investment to develop a treatment for a neglected disease. A drug company can recoup costs incurred by developing drugs for a neglected disease by securing these new patent rights.

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CGD blog posts reflect the views of the authors, drawing on prior research and experience in their areas of expertise. CGD is a nonpartisan, independent organization and does not take institutional positions.