Research and development
Lifesaving tools for low-resource settings
Thanks to global health advances such as vaccines, insecticide-treated bed nets, and oral rehydration therapy, the number of children who die before their fifth birthdays each year has been cut in half from 20 million in 1960 to fewer than 9 million today. America’s ingenuity and innovative entrepreneurial spirit has played a major role in this progress. As a leader in global health, science, and technology, the United States has the ability to continue to eliminate disease for children around the world.
What is R&D?
In order to reach those who need them most, new health products must advance through a complex process requiring significant political will and financial investment: research and development (R&D). R&D includes:
- Basic discovery and research.
- Development of research into products that are tested through phased clinical trials.
- Regulatory processes to ensure product safety and licensure.
- Introduction of new technologies into health systems.
- Scale-up and effective use of products.
What are the challenges?
Research and development of new health technologies for the developing world can be hindered by insufficient funding, regulatory barriers to approving new technologies, and private industry’s perception that products designed for the developing world will not bring them a profit.
Even after a product has been developed and approved, it still must reach its target market in remote areas of the world. Health systems may be weak, lacking the policies, human resources, and infrastructure to successfully deliver a new technology to a local community. Because health technologies are often developed outside their region of use, the new tool may be inappropriate for the culture or people it is intended to help.
What can be done?
To address these challenges and accelerate the development of critical health interventions, the Global Health Technologies Coalition advocates for:
- Increased financing, coordination, and strategic investments by the US government in global health research and development.
- Streamlined regulatory processes to accelerate licensing of safe and effective global health technologies.
- Adoption of new market-based incentives to encourage investments by private industry.