Product development public-private partnerships for public health: a systematic review using qualitative data

Soc Sci Med. 2011 Oct;73(7):986-94. doi: 10.1016/j.socscimed.2011.06.059. Epub 2011 Jul 23.


Almost a decade ago, public health initiated a number of innovative ventures to attract investments from multinational drug companies for the development of new drugs and vaccines to tackle neglected diseases (NDs). These ventures - known as product development public-private partnerships (PD PPPs) - represent the participation of the public and private actors toward the discovery and development of essential medicines to reduce the suffering of over one billion people worldwide living with NDs. This systematic review aimed to identify empirical-based descriptive articles to understand critical elements in the partnership process, and propose a framework to shed light on future guidelines to support better planning, design and management of existing and new forms of PPPs for public health. Ten articles met the inclusion criteria and were analyzed and synthesized using qualitative content analysis. The findings show that the development stage of PD PPPs requires a careful initiation and planning process including discussion on values and shared goals, agreement on mutual interests & equality of power relation, exchange of expertise & resources, stakeholder engagement, and assessment of the local health capacity. The management stage of PD PPPs entails transparency, extensive communication and participatory decision-making among partner organizations. This review illustrates the difficulties, challenges and effective responses during the partnering process. This model of collaboration may offer a way to advance population health at present, while creating streams of innovation that can yield future social and financial dividends in enhancing the public's health more widely.

Publication types

  • Review
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Drugs, Essential
  • Humans
  • Public Health*
  • Public-Private Sector Partnerships*
  • Research*
  • Vaccines


  • Drugs, Essential
  • Vaccines