Mapping of Available Health Research and Development Data: What's There, What's Missing, and What Role Is There for a Global Observatory?

Lancet. 2013 Oct 12;382(9900):1286-307. doi: 10.1016/S0140-6736(13)61046-6. Epub 2013 May 20.

Abstract

The need to align investments in health research and development (R&D) with public health demands is one of the most pressing global public health challenges. We aim to provide a comprehensive description of available data sources, propose a set of indicators for monitoring the global landscape of health R&D, and present a sample of country indicators on research inputs (investments), processes (clinical trials), and outputs (publications), based on data from international databases. Total global investments in health R&D (both public and private sector) in 2009 reached US$240 billion. Of the US$214 billion invested in high-income countries, 60% of health R&D investments came from the business sector, 30% from the public sector, and about 10% from other sources (including private non-profit organisations). Only about 1% of all health R&D investments were allocated to neglected diseases in 2010. Diseases of relevance to high-income countries were investigated in clinical trials seven-to-eight-times more often than were diseases whose burden lies mainly in low-income and middle-income countries. This report confirms that substantial gaps in the global landscape of health R&D remain, especially for and in low-income and middle-income countries. Too few investments are targeted towards the health needs of these countries. Better data are needed to improve priority setting and coordination for health R&D, ultimately to ensure that resources are allocated to diseases and regions where they are needed the most. The establishment of a global observatory on health R&D, which is being discussed at WHO, could address the absence of a comprehensive and sustainable mechanism for regular global monitoring of health R&D.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Biomedical Research / economics
  • Biomedical Research / statistics & numerical data*
  • Clinical Trials as Topic / statistics & numerical data
  • Data Collection
  • Databases as Topic / statistics & numerical data*
  • Developed Countries / economics
  • Developed Countries / statistics & numerical data
  • Developing Countries / economics
  • Developing Countries / statistics & numerical data
  • Global Health / economics
  • Global Health / statistics & numerical data
  • Humans
  • Information Dissemination
  • Needs Assessment / statistics & numerical data
  • Public Health / statistics & numerical data*
  • Publishing / statistics & numerical data
  • Research Support as Topic / economics
  • Research Support as Topic / statistics & numerical data