In advance of this month's World Health Assembly and the G7 summit in June, world leaders should consider the establishment of a global biomedical research and development fund and a mechanism to address the dearth in innovation for today's most pressing global health challenges, according to Bernard Pécoul, from the Drugs for Neglected Diseases Initiative, Geneva, Switzerland, and colleagues in an Essay published in this week's PLOS Medicine.
The Essay, which is authored by an international group of leaders of public and private research institutions, non-governmental organizations, and academic groups from Europe, China, India, and South Africa, highlights how a market-led research and development system has failed to deliver innovative new tools to respond to major health challenges, including emerging infectious diseases such as Ebola, anti-microbial resistance, and neglected diseases.
The authors note that while large, international, multi-lateral funds exist for global health delivery, there is no significant pooled funding mechanism for research and development to complement existing but limited R&D funding for a wide range of diseases.
The authors note, "The devastating loss of human life from the Ebola outbreak of 2014 must not be in vain. It must prompt serious changes to our joint international systems for stimulating innovation and ensuring access to health technologies for those who need them."
The authors conclude: "These issues must be on the agenda for the evaluation panels established in the aftermath of Ebola, at the World Health Assembly and UN levels. It must also be a key priority at the G7 summit in June 2015... We call for one of their recommendations to be the establishment of a global biomedical R&D fund and mechanism for innovations of public health importance."
Funding: No funding received for this work.
Competing Interests: The authors have declared that no competing interests exist.
Citation: Balasegaram M, Bréchot C, Farrar J, Heymann D, Ganguly N, et al. (2015) A Global Biomedical R&D Fund and Mechanism for Innovations of Public Health Importance. PLoS Med 12(5): e1001831. doi:10.1371/journal.pmed.1001831
Author List: Manica Balasegaram, Christian Bréchot, Jeremy Farrar, David Heymann, Nirmal Ganguly, Martin Khor, Yves Lévy, Precious Matsoso, Ren Minghui, Bernard Pécoul, Liu Peilong, Marcel Tanner, John-Arne Røttingen
Access Campaign, Médecins Sans Frontières, Geneva, Switzerland
Institut Pasteur, Paris, France
Wellcome Trust, London, United Kingdom
Centre on Global Health Security, Chatham House, London, United Kingdom
Jawaharlal Institute of Postgraduate Medical Education & Research, Puducherry, India
South Centre, Geneva, Switzerland
INSERM, Paris, France
Department of Health, Pretoria, South Africa
Department of International Cooperation, China National Health and Family Planning Commission, Beijing, People's Republic of China
Drugs for Neglected Diseases initiative, Geneva, Switzerland
Department of Global Health, School of Public Health, Peking University, Peking, China
Swiss Tropical and Public Health Institute, Basel, Switzerland
Norwegian Institute of Public Health, Norway, University of Oslo, Olso, Norway
Harvard T. H. Chan School of Public Health, Boston, Massachusetts, United States of America