The health innovation system is ‘broken’
Research and development priorities are not determined by public health needs. The system ignores diseases – such as tuberculosis – that are most prevalent in developing countries. Meanwhile, more than half of approved medicines in recent years offered no additional health benefits.
The number of new drugs approved against research and development (R & D) spend has declined from around 40 drugs per $1bn of R & D in the 1950s to less than 0.65 drugs per $1bn spend this century, representing a huge drop in innovation and productivity.
Pharmaceutical companies are increasingly focused on maximising short-term financial returns to shareholders, rather than funding health advances in the public interest. The 19 pharmaceutical companies included in the S&P 500 Index in January 2017 (and listed 2006-15) spent $297bn on repurchasing their own shares between 2007-16—61% of their combined R&D expenditures in this period.
Professor Mariana Mazzucato said: “The diagnosis looks bleak for the health innovation system; it’s expensive and unproductive and requires a complete transformation. We have a situation now where the NHS is a huge buyer of drugs and the UK government is a significant investor in the development of new treatments, yet big pharmaceutical companies are calling the shots.
“In the year of the 70th anniversary of the NHS, this is an ideal time to take stock and rethink the system with a move towards a model that prioritises long-term public value above short-term corporate profits.”
via The Ecologist The health innovation system is ‘broken’