New prevention, diagnosis and treatment tools are critical to sustain the gains made in the fight against malaria and achieve future progress. New tools are particularly important in addressing key challenges related to drug and insecticide resistance, and to HRP2 gene deletions which can render the most commonly-available rapid diagnostic tests ineffective. The failure to address these challenges will have important consequences, both in terms of an increase in the burden of disease and deaths, and also in terms of direct economic costs.
Recent experiences show that when new tools become available, they face limited or slow uptake due to their higher-price and resource constraints in the majority of malaria endemic countries, combined with a lack of robust cost-effectiveness evidence to justify the additional expense. Low market volumes limit opportunities to achieve price reductions, which in turn reinforces the cost barrier to product uptake. This bottleneck prolongs the time needed to move the market from low-volume/high-margin to high-volume/low-margin conditions that will ultimately make new tools affordable to all countries that need them.
Investments in research and development by the private sector, public-private partnerships, academia and others has resulted in a rich pipeline of innovative tools for malaria control and elimination. This policy dialogue will explore the natural tensions that exist between the need to maximize coverage of core interventions and the need to create space for new tools that may have a higher unit cost in the short-term, but may be more cost-effective.
The policy discussion panel will include representatives from countries, industry, product development partnerships and funders.