In wealthy nations, non-profit drug R&D has been proposed to reduce the prices of medicines. We sought to review the ethical and economic issues concerning non-profit drug R&D companies, and the possible impact that their pricing strategy may have on the innovation efforts from for-profit companies targeting the same segment of the pharmaceutical market. There are two possible approaches to pricing drugs developed by non-profit R&D programs: pricing that maximises profits and “affordable” pricing that reflects the cost of manufacturing and distribution, plus a margin that ensures sustainability of the drug supply. Overall, the non-profits face ethical challenges – due to the lack of resources, they are unable to independently commercialize their products on a large scale; however, the antitrust law does not permit them to impose prices on potential licensees. Also, reduced prices for the innovative products may result in drying the for-profit R&D in the area.