Abstract for: Incentives for Innovation in Drug Development: Comparing Antivirals for Chronic and Acute Conditions

In the context of increasing costs and declining efficiency in pharmaceutical development in recent decades, this research aims to explore the incentives for innovation in the pharmaceutical industry, with a focus on incentives in antiviral drug development. We conduct a literature review on innovation in drug development, and analyze the findings from this literature review, using systems thinking to develop causal loop diagrams (CLDs). Firstly, one explaining these concepts generally for the pharmaceutical development incentives; showing why the pharmaceutical industry, as a whole, has been characterized by more incremental than radical innovation in recent decades. Following this, two CLDs diving deeper into more specific cases of antiviral drug development; one for chronic viral infections, which is an example of high levels of radical innovation and fast progress in the pharmaceutical industry and one for acute viral infections, which gives some intuition for the historically limited development of therapeutics for acute viral infections. The paper concludes that the incentives for developing therapeutics for chronic and acute viral infections are fundamentally different, and the speed of innovation that has been seen for chronic viral conditions like HCV and HIV cannot be possible for acute conditions, like Influenza and COVID-19, without external intervention.