The report, which will be released by the Global Health Technologies Coalition (GHTC) and Policy Cures on Friday at a briefing in Washington, finds that the US government each year provides around 45 percent of the total global investment and 70 percent of all government investment worldwide in global health R&D. In the last decade, the US government more than doubled its yearly financial commitment to developing new global health products, from $685 million in 2000 to $1.4 billion in 2010. These investments represent just 0.01 percent of US gross domestic product (GDP).
The report, Saving lives and creating impact: Why investing in global health research works, finds that five federal agenciesthe National Institutes of Health (NIH), US Agency for International Development (USAID), Department of Defense (DoD), Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and Food and Drug Administration (FDA)provide significant contributions each year to global health R&D. This commitment from the US Government and its federal agencies has led to a remarkable increase in global health products. Forty-five new health tools were registered between 2000 and 2010, and the US Government was involved in 24, or 53 percent, of these new global health products in the last decade.
"This report provides critical new evidence for policymakers in the United States," GHTC Director Kaitlin Christenson, MPH, said. "We always believed that the United States was a leader in global health R&D, and that US investments were making a huge difference in the global public health landscape. And we now have clear evidence that support these beliefs and shows the critical importance of US support for these lifesaving health tools."
Many of these new products are on course to save millions of lives and dollars around the world. The report looks at two global health technologies developed with US Government supporta new meningitis vaccine and a new test to diagnose tuberculosis (TB)and finds that US investments have led to hundreds of millions of dollars in savings. For example:
- Estimates predict that the new meningitis vaccine MenAfriVac will prevent approximately 437,000 cases of meningitis over the next 10 years, saving around 43,500 lives and averting around 105,000 disabilities. In all, the introduction of MenAfriVac is estimated to save about $570 million in the next decade.
- The Xpert ® MTB/RIF test is expected to triple the number of patients diagnosed with drug-resistant TB, curbing the spread of drug resistance and enabling patients to be prescribed the correct treatment immediately.
- Several HIV vaccines currently under development. New modeling indicates that a vaccine with even 50 percent efficacy provided to just 30 percent of the population could reduce the number of new HIV infections in the developing world by 25 percent over 15 yearspreventing 5.6 million new infections.
- Shorter TB treatment regimens currently under development could reduce transmission of TB by 10 percent, resulting in fewer infections and fewer people requiring treatment for the disease.
"Our report also shows that a sustained and even increased commitment to global health R&D from the United States is needed now, especially as several promising research projects are moving toward later-stage clinical trialsthe final steps to ensure that the products are effective and safe," Christenson said.
This next generation of global health products promises to deliver even greater health and economic gains, both at home and abroad. For instance, the report finds that funding for global health R&D not only benefits the developing worldit also boosts the US economy. Around 64 cents in every dollar spent by the US government on global health R&D goes directly to US-based researchers.
"After years of neglect, the global health R&D landscape for new products has been transformed in the last decade, driven by sustained investment from the US government and increasing support from industry, other public funders, and philanthropic agencies like the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation," the report says.
The report finds that the health and economic benefits, both domestically and internationally, provide clear reasons for the United States to continue its support for global health R&D. It also offers recommendations for how the US Government can generate an even greater impact from its investments in new global health products. These include maintaining funding levels for global health R&D and increasing these levels where possible; and bolstering its partnerships with industry, nonprofit groups, and the philanthropic sector to translate promising research into new successful health products. The report also noted that US support for global health R&D has been heavily tilted toward basic science research and increased support for the later stages of research will be needed as more products move into the final stages.
"We now have proof that the US government has made a lasting impact on health around the world through its support of research for new health tools," Christenson said. "As the United States and its partners work to push the next generation of lifesaving products over the research finish line and into the hands of people in need worldwide, this report provides a way forward for making US investments in global health R&D even more effective."
Provided by Global Health Technologies Coalition
This Phys.org Science News Wire page contains a press release issued by an organization mentioned above and is provided to you “as is” with little or no review from Phys.Org staff.