Photo: Patients in the waiting area at Koutiala Hospital in Mali. Mali 2012 © Venetia Dearden
Conference Briefing Paper: Medical Innovations for Neglected Patients
There are three fundamental problems with medical innovation today.
First, global public health needs are not in the driving seat. Regardless of how great the needs may be, where commercial potential is weak, there is little “pull” to develop new technologies. The innovation cycle is broken, with few or no incentives for the development of effective, safe, quality, suitable and affordable health technologies—leading to needless suffering and death.
Second, as a result, developing countries must often “make do” with innovation that primarily caters to conditions in developed countries. Medical tools are too often developed first for developed countries and only rolled out in resource limited settings in a second stage.
Third, even when there is enough of a profit incentive to drive innovation—for example when diseases affect both developed and developing countries alike—the resulting products are too often priced out of reach.
Medical innovation must aim to change practice, for the benefit of patients. But ideas, knowledge and inventions can only benefit patients who have access to the fruits of innovation. What is needed, therefore, is not just innovation—but both innovation and access.
Download the full report here.