Assessing 15 proposals for promoting innovation and access to medicines globally

Ann Glob Health. 2014 Nov-Dec;80(6):432-43. doi: 10.1016/j.aogh.2015.02.004.


Background: There is widespread recognition that the existing global systems for innovation and access to medicines need reform. Billions of people do not have access to the medicines they need, and market failures prevent new drugs from being developed for diseases that primarily affect the global poor. The World Health Organization's Consultative Expert Working Group on Research and Development: Financing and Coordination (CEWG) analyzed numerous proposals for reform. The aim of this article is to build on these previous inquiries.

Methods: We conducted a structured analysis that grouped proposals into five broad opportunities for global policy reform to help researchers and decision makers to meaningfully evaluate each proposal in comparison with similar proposals. Proposals were also analyzed along three important dimensions-potential health impact, financial implications, and political feasibility-further facilitating the comparison and application of this information.

Findings: Upon analysis, no one solution was deemed a panacea, as many (often competing) considerations need to be taken into account. However, some proposals, particularly product development partnership and prizes, appeared more promising and feasible at this time and deserve further attention.

Conclusion: More research is needed into the effectiveness of these mechanisms and their transferability across jurisdictions.

Keywords: Global health; innovation; intellectual property; international development; medicines; patents; pharmaceuticals.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Commerce
  • Developing Countries*
  • Diffusion of Innovation
  • Drug Discovery / economics*
  • Drug Discovery / legislation & jurisprudence*
  • Global Health*
  • Health Policy
  • Humans
  • Neglected Diseases / drug therapy*
  • Orphan Drug Production / economics
  • Orphan Drug Production / legislation & jurisprudence
  • Patents as Topic / legislation & jurisprudence
  • Pharmaceutical Preparations / supply & distribution*
  • Politics
  • Rare Diseases / drug therapy
  • World Health Organization


  • Pharmaceutical Preparations