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Washington PostSebastian Mallaby writes in today's Washington Post (requires free registration) of the Bush administration's opportunity to find common ground with European allies on the issue of AIDS vaccine development.

"The Bush administration, for example, should embrace an idea to spur vaccine development for poor countries that's popular inside the British government. The notion is that rich countries would sign a contract promising to purchase vaccines for AIDS or malaria if they are invented; that would provide an incentive for pharmaceutical giants to put research dollars to work. This approach protects intellectual property, leverages the resources of the mainly U.S.-based private sector, minimizes government meddling and costs nothing unless a vaccine is actually developed. In sum, it fits the Bush worldview perfectly. So why not applaud the Brits for their excellent leadership and get behind the idea?"

Owen's comment: Quite so. As Sebastian Mallaby's comment highlights, one of the interesting things about advance market commitments is that is has broad appeal. For those whose main concern is the fight on poverty, this is a way to engage more resources in the battle against infectious disease. For those who are sceptical of aid, this is a way to ensure that money is well spent (it costs nothing at all if it does not succeed) and to use the private sector better. This could be something on which Europe and America agree.

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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 does not take institutional positions.