The 3 policies needed to boost medical innovation in developing countries

Friday, December 6, 2019

We must improve access to healthcare for people in developing countries, writes David Kaslow of PATH in the Global Innovation Index 2019. He names three key policies that would help achieve this outcome.


This article is part of a series about the power of innovation to solve social and economic challenges. Stories and statistics are drawn from the Global Innovation Index 2019.


Innovation is critical to driving health equity and social and economic development around the world, writes health equity expert and PATH’s Vice-president for Essential Medicines David Kaslow, in the Global Innovation Index 2019.


Kaslow names three policies that would improve access to innovative health technologies in developing nations. These policies are designed to support medical innovation, and to strengthen the institutional and regulatory environments in low-resource settings.


1. Prioritize health-product development

In low-income economies, the political will to support new technologies that tackle poverty-related diseases is crucial. Unlocking more funding for this work will require cross-departmental collaboration, rather than relying solely on health department budgets. A holistic approach that emphasizes the benefits of medical innovation beyond healthcare to the economy and wider society, could enable new resource streams to sustainably fund innovation.


2. Simplify and strengthen regulations

By harmonizing regulatory standards across agencies and regions, we can smooth the path for registering new health technologies. This aids faster uptake and increases the impact on public health. A global regulatory system would minimize the costs and time involved with product development by reducing the number of country-specific clinical studies required, and by reducing the number of manufacturing and control activities that need to be performed.


3. Improve healthcare delivery systems

Public health impact is not achieved until those in need of medical interventions receive and benefit from them. Making sure medical products are reliably available, delivered, and administered requires robust health systems staffed by informed decision-makers, well-trained and resourced care providers, and with suitable mechanisms for delivery.


Above all, achieving the innovation and widespread application of new health technologies in the developing world demands a global and local aspiration to achieve universal healthcare.


Source: Global Innovation Index 2019, Chapter 11


The Global Innovation Index 2019 is the result of a collaboration between Cornell University, INSEAD, and the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) as co-publishers, and their Knowledge Partners, Confederation of Indian Industry, Dassault Systèmes, SEBRAE, Brazilian Micro and Small Industry Support Services, and Brazilian Confederation of Industry.


Published under Creative Commons Attribution-NoDerivatives 4.0 International (CC BY-ND 4.0) licence. That means you can copy and redistribute the material in any medium or format for any purpose, even commercially, but you cannot change it in any way.


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