This article argues that prizes can help stimulate medical innovation, control costs and ensure greater access to new medicines and vaccines. The authors explore four increasingly ambitious prize options to reward medical innovation, each addressing flaws in the current patent system. The first option promotes innovation through a large prize fund linked to the impact on health outcomes; the second option rewards the sharing of knowledge, data, and technology with open source dividends; the third option awards prizes for interim benchmarks and discrete technical problems; and the final option removes the exclusive right to use patented inventions in upstream research in favor of prizes. The authors conclude that a system of prizes to reward drug development would break the link between R&D incentives and product prices, and that such a reform is needed to improve innovation and access to new medicines and vaccines.

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