The Global Health Technologies Coalition (GHTC) has released its third annual policy report, which documents US leadership in driving the research and development that saves lives around the world. Housed at PATH and funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the GHTC includes almost 40 organizations advocating for research and development of tools to prevent, diagnose, and treat global diseases so health solutions are available when populations need them.
Sustaining Progress: Creating US Policies to Spur Global Health Innovation highlights recent scientific and policy achievements that have spurred the development of game-changing health products such as vaccines, drugs, and diagnostics. It also offers recommendations for how US policymakers can continue to make the critical investments that will produce the next generation of lifesaving health tools.
The report makes recommendations in three areas: public financing, regulatory pathways, and incentives and innovative financing. The recommendations are:
- Protect and sustain funding for global health product development. This should include protecting funding for agencies engaged in global health research and product development such as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Department of Defense (DoD), Food and Drug Administration (FDA), National Institutes of Health (NIH), and US Agency for International Development (USAID).
- Include global health research and product development in key health and development policies, such as those informing the US President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief and other US foreign assistance programs.
- Advance promising initiatives that will spur global health product development. Several initiatives announced over the past year have potential to advance global health research and innovation, including efforts at the CDC, DoD, FDA, NIH, and USAID. Policymakers at US agencies can demonstrate their commitment by moving forward with those initiatives.
- Build stronger partnerships between the FDA and non-US regulatory stakeholders, including the World Health Organization.
- Prioritize the FDA’s internal capacity in neglected diseases through training opportunities, by hiring staff with expertise in this area, and by engaging with regulatory authorities in countries with disease epidemics.
- Bolster the FDA’s engagement with groups developing global health tools, including product development partnerships.
- Demonstrate robust congressional support for the FDA’s role in global health.
Incentives and innovative financing
- Establish formally a cross-agency working group to explore US investment in incentives and innovative financing mechanisms for global health.
- Engage with civil society, nongovernmental organizations, and private industry when exploring US investments in incentives and innovative financing. Consultations with stakeholders can inform priorities and decisions at each stage of the process, from initial discussions, to developing recommendations for US support, to program evaluation.
- Engage with other governments and donors to explore and support incentives and innovative financing in order to maximize the impact of US engagement, leverage additional resources, and harness the considerable global momentum on this issue.
- Support a portfolio of incentives and financing mechanisms to stimulate needed research and development at all stages of the product development process.
- Conduct continuous rigorous assessment of each incentive and financing mechanism supported by the United States to ensure that funds are used effectively and efficiently.
Posted February 28, 2012.