Increasing value and reducing waste in biomedical research: who's listening?

Lancet. 2016 Apr 9;387(10027):1573-1586. doi: 10.1016/S0140-6736(15)00307-4. Epub 2015 Sep 27.


The biomedical research complex has been estimated to consume almost a quarter of a trillion US dollars every year. Unfortunately, evidence suggests that a high proportion of this sum is avoidably wasted. In 2014, The Lancet published a series of five reviews showing how dividends from the investment in research might be increased from the relevance and priorities of the questions being asked, to how the research is designed, conducted, and reported. 17 recommendations were addressed to five main stakeholders-funders, regulators, journals, academic institutions, and researchers. This Review provides some initial observations on the possible effects of the Series, which seems to have provoked several important discussions and is on the agendas of several key players. Some examples of individual initiatives show ways to reduce waste and increase value in biomedical research. This momentum will probably move strongly across stakeholder groups, if collaborative relationships evolve between key players; further important work is needed to increase research value. A forthcoming meeting in Edinburgh, UK, will provide an initial forum within which to foster the collaboration needed.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Biomedical Research / standards*
  • Cooperative Behavior*
  • Humans
  • Research Design / standards*
  • Research Personnel*