Exporting 'failure': why research from rich countries may not benefit the developing world

Rev Saude Publica. 2010 Feb;44(1):185-9. doi: 10.1590/s0034-89102010000100020.


The '10/90 gap' was first highlighted by the Global Forum for Health Research. It refers to the finding that 90% of worldwide medical research expenditure is targeted at problems affecting only 10% of the world's population. Applying research results from the rich world to the problems of the poor may be a tempting, potentially easy and convenient solution for this gap. This paper had the objective of presenting arguments that such an approach runs the risk of exporting failure. Health interventions that are shown to be effective in the specific context of a Western industrialized setting will not necessarily work in the developing world.

MeSH terms

  • Biomedical Research*
  • Developed Countries*
  • Developing Countries*
  • Diffusion of Innovation*
  • Evidence-Based Medicine
  • Humans
  • Randomized Controlled Trials as Topic*