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The need to align investments in health research and development (R&D) with public health demands is one of the most pressing global public health challenges. We aim to provide a comprehensive description of available data sources, propose a set of indicators for monitoring the global landscape of health R&D, and present a sample of country indicators on research inputs (investments), processes (clinical trials), and outputs (publications), based on data from international databases. Total global investments in health R&D (both public and private sector) in 2009 reached US$240 billion. Of the US$214 billion invested in high-income countries, 60% of health R&D investments came from the business sector, 30% from the public sector, and about 10% from other sources (including private non-profit organisations). Only about 1% of all health R&D investments were allocated to neglected diseases in 2010. Diseases of relevance to high-income countries were investigated in clinical trials seven-to-eight-times more often than were diseases whose burden lies mainly in low-income and middle-income countries. This report confirms that substantial gaps in the global landscape of health R&D remain, especially for and in low-income and middle-income countries. Too few investments are targeted towards the health needs of these countries. Better data are needed to improve priority setting and coordination for health R&D, ultimately to ensure that resources are allocated to diseases and regions where they are needed the most. The establishment of a global observatory on health R&D, which is being discussed at WHO, could address the absence of a comprehensive and sustainable mechanism for regular global monitoring of health R&D.

Original publication

DOI

10.1016/s0140-6736(13)61046-6

Type

Journal article

Journal

Lancet (London, England)

Publication Date

10/2013

Volume

382

Pages

1286 - 1307

Addresses

Department of Health Management and Health Economics, Institute for Health and Society, University of Oslo, Norway. jrotting@hsph.harvard.edu

Keywords

Humans, Data Collection, Information Dissemination, Public Health, Biomedical Research, Developed Countries, Developing Countries, Needs Assessment, Publishing, Clinical Trials as Topic, Research Support as Topic, Databases as Topic, Global Health