Advocating for Global Health

Identifying global health needs and how to address them is vital.  But ensuring these findings translate into effective government policy is even more vital.  Too often we see Government effort and funding that miss the target:  promising research investments that gather dust on shelves;  government agencies that operate in silos; and countries working alone rather than partnering in more powerful coalitions. 

Focussing on Australia, we began work in 2017 to analyse Government funding gaps and inefficiencies, show how to improve them, and to identify international partners and ventures that Australia could start talking to and working with.  Already, we’ve seen the fruits of these ideas.  By 2020, Australian Government agencies were well-established as partners of overseas Product Development Partnerships creating cures for diseases that ravage the Asia-Pacific (malaria and TB in particular).  The Government has begun playing a more prominent role in international organisations like the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations, focussed on pandemics like COVID.  And Australia’s new overseas connections are now investing into domestic global health breakthroughs, translating Australian research into high-impact drugs and vaccines.  See our publications page articles on what Australia can do, and do differently.

Read Article

SAVING LIVES – Making the case for European investment in poverty-related and neglected disease R&D

Commissioned by Deutsche Stiftung Weltbevölkerung (DSW), the 201Saving Lives report updates a previous 2012 study.  It provides an in-depth analysis of European Union funding for poverty-related and neglected diseases R&D, including in comparison with direct investments from European Governments.  The report assesses the impact of this EU investment on global health, and the flow-on economic and employment benefits for Europe itself.

The European public sector plays a pivotal role in supporting R&D to create new tools to combat neglected diseases such as leprosy, diarrhoeal diseases, dengue, helminth infections and trachoma.  At a time when global public funding for neglected disease R&D is waning, and governments face competing demands for health and R&D budgets, this report is a timely reminder of why the European contribution matters.

Download Report

The Birth Lottery: Changing the Odds

Millions of women and children die every day in pregnancy and childbirth because they do not have access to simple, low-cost tools that are suitable for use where they live. Yet, research and development (R&D) of new tools for reproductive and maternal health is critically underfunded.

The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) have set ambitious targets, including a 70% reduction in maternal mortality by 2030. This will not be reached without a global commitment to invest in new and better tools - many of which are already in the pipeline. This report:

  • Details the dire need for increased global investment in reproductive health R&D
  • Illustrates why this investment is a best buy for donors
  • Highlights promising new life-saving innovations that are currently in development, but which need additional funding to reach the women and children who need them.
Download the report Additional information on new innovations in reproductive health

The Unrecognised Revolution in Global Health

Just how big is the current neglected disease product pipeline, and what does it look like? Who is driving the development of new health technologies for these diseases? And what are some of the transformative technologies in the current pipeline that could revolutionise the future of global health?

This report presents an updated overview of the current state of the neglected disease product pipeline—the first since 2012. It finds that a decade and a half of increased attention and funding for neglected diseases has helped deliver a pipeline of potential new products that is now healthier than at any time in history, and explains why this remarkable quiet revolution in global health deserves both recognition and support.

Policy Cures launched this report in Berlin on September 13th 2015, at an event hosted by Stephan Albani MP and Deutsche Stiftung Weltbevoelkerung (DSW).

Download the report View the Powerpoint Presentation in PDF

Measuring Global Health R&D for the Post-2015 Development Agenda

Despite the enormous gains in global health achieved in recent decades, achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) will be impossible without new health technologies to combat the health burden that falls disproportionately on low- and middle-income countries. But most SDG discussions have overlooked the importance of R&D in reaching the health targets, as well as the fact that measuring progress and support for global health R&D is critical to keep us on track towards our 2030 goals.

This report sets out the rationale for the inclusion of robust indicators for global health R&D in the SDG monitoring framework, and identifies the most suitable indicators to be included. Without them, support for the innovation that will secure the future of global health risks being ignored in the post-2015 development agenda.

Download the report

The Role of 'Team India' in Global Health R&D

With a domestic burden of neglected diseases, a strong scientific-base and an emerging pharmaceutical sector, India is a natural player in the field of R&D for global health. But exactly what contribution is India making to the development of new health technologies for neglected diseases? For example:

  • How much is the Indian government investing, and where?
  • What role is the Indian pharmaceutical industry playing?
  • And what policies, programmes and partnerships are in place to support this national effort?

By answering these questions and more, this report provides insights into India’s role in global health R&D that will be of interest to policy makers, funders and researchers alike.

Download the report

PRNDs: The Global Health Burden

Neglected diseases such as malaria, TB and sleeping sickness – as well as lesser-known worm and parasitic infections – kill 6 million people every year and disproportionately affect people living in the world's poorest countries. Europe is a vital source of R&D funding for neglected diseases and this needs to be sustained to save lives. Investing in R&D for these diseases also makes sense for Europe:

  • Europe has 30,000 new cases of HIV a year and 150 new cases of TB every day
  • 66 cents of each euro invested by the EU for these diseases is spent within the EU

This factsheet explains why neglected diseases are an issue Europe can’t afford to ignore.

Download the report

Australia's Global Health R&D Investment: Achieving its Potential

Australia is a top funder of neglected disease R&D, ranking 6th globally in 2012. However, this funding is imbalanced, favouring some diseases and R&D areas more than others. There are waiting opportunities for Australia to make the greatest impact possible in the fight against those diseases that afflict the world’s poorest. This factsheet:

  • Maps Australia’s contribution to global health R&D
  • Outlines weaknesses in existing funding patterns
  • Recommends ways Australia can create even greater impact
Download the report

Tuberculosis: The Last Mile

Current drugs, diagnostics and vaccines to fight tuberculosis (TB) are often ineffective and out-of-date. The WHO has acknowledged that new TB tools are urgently needed to significantly reduce TB deaths in the developing world. There is hope however, with investment in recent years leading to a number of promising new products moving into the late stages of development. These products have the potential to change lives for the millions worldwide who live with or are at risk of TB. This report:

  • Explains why current approaches to TB control aren’t working
  • Provides a snapshot of the major funders for TB R&D
  • Outlines what new products are in the TB pipeline, and how these could change the future for those with TB
Download the report

Government Funding for Neglected Diseases: Why it Doesn't Add Up

Every year, more than 6 million people in low- and middle-income countries die from neglected diseases, for which the vaccines, medicines and diagnostic tests are either ineffective or completely lacking. This factsheet reviews government funding of the research and development (R&D) needed to make these missing products, including:

  • Which governments and agencies provide funding and how much
  • Who gets the funding, and why this matters
  • Why government funding for neglected disease R&D increasingly doesn’t add up
Download the report

An Emerging Leader: Germany’s Role in Neglected and Poverty-related Disease R&D

Germany is now the fourth biggest public funder of neglected disease R&D globally in absolute terms however, in terms of its spend as a percentage of GDP (in 2012), it ranks below many other European countries including UK, France, Sweden, Ireland, the Netherlands and Switzerland.

Germany has a strong scientific history and a network of highly regarded research institutes active in R&D. As a G8 economy, Germany has the economic potential, unlike some of its European counterparts struggling to respond to the global economic crisis, to boost its neglected disease R&D funding and to capitalise on its R&D strengths. This report (also in German):

  • Analyses German public funding from 2007-2012
  • Gives a who’s-who of German public funders and research institutes
  • Summarises neglected disease R&D achievements to date and funding opportunities for the future
Download the report

Diagnostic R&D for Neglected Diseases

Effective diagnostics are essential tools for the control, elimination and eradication of neglected diseases, with the ability to quickly and accurately identify infections critical to ensuring that patients receive the treatment they need and halting the further spread of disease. One of the great challenges to monitoring disease emergence and delivering appropriate control measures is the lack of readily available, easy-to-use, reliable and low-cost diagnostic tools. Despite the pressing need for new diagnostics, and the obvious advantages to developing effective diagnostic tools, current funding levels for research and development of new diagnostics are insufficient to meet the needs of many neglected diseases.

This factsheet examines funding of diagnostic research and development globally, based on G-FINDER data, and discusses the urgent need to rationalise funding, diversify funding sources and increase priority driven investments.

Download the report

R&D for Diarrhoeal Diseases

Diarrhoea is one of the six conditions identified in the fourth Millennium Development Goal: reduce child mortality, that lead to the majority of child deaths. In 2010, diarrhoeal diseases caused 1.1 million deaths and 66.5 million years of productive life lost in developing countries. Whilst preventive measures such as clean drinking water and sanitation can reduce the risk of infection, research and development (R&D) of new tools is equally important, particularly for vaccines as they can prevent infection.

This factsheet examines funding for diarrhoeal disease R&D globally from 2007-2011 and discusses the need to increase the focus on under-funded disease areas, diversify funding sources and balance funding distribution between basic research and product development.

Download the report

From Pipeline to Product: Malaria R&D Funding Needs

Malaria kills half a million people each year worldwide—and challenges such as drug resistance continue to emerge. Overcoming these challenges and combating malaria will rely on research and development (R&D) of new pharmaceutical products. From Pipeline to Product estimates the funding needed over the next decade for R&D of new tools to control, eliminate and eradicate malaria. The report analyses:

  • Which products need the most R&D funding
  • What’s in today’s malaria pipelines
  • Where funding is falling behind and where it’s on track
Download the report Download From Pipeline to Product summary

Estimating Costs and Measuring Investments in Malaria R&D for Eradication

Within the larger landscape set out in From Pipeline to Product, this companion report focuses in on the specific subset of R&D aimed at eliminating and eradicating (E&E) malaria in the next decade. It explores funding for this relatively new target area for the first time, analysing:

  • The proportion of total malaria R&D funding going to E&E research and development
  • What products we’re likely to have in the next decade at current E&E funding levels
  • … and the investment needed to achieve the target E&E products requested by the global malaria community
Download the report

Oil Search Health Foundation project

Policy Cures, in partnership with Nous Group, has been commissioned to develop a five-year strategic plan for the Oil Search Health Foundation (OSHF) to guide their contribution to health in Papua New Guinea (PNG). PNG is a hotspot within the Western Pacific for diseases such as tuberculosis and HIV/AIDS. Likewise, child and maternal health conditions are worryingly prevalent, particularly in rural areas, including lower respiratory infections, diarrheal diseases, meningitis and preterm birth complications.

OSHF is a not-for-profit charity set up in 2011 with the goal of improving the long term health and well-being of communities in PNG on behalf of its parent company, Oil Search Limited, an oil and gas company that has been operating in PNG since 1929.

Savings lives and creating impact: EU investment in poverty-related neglected diseases

Now is a critical time for European investment in R&D targeting poverty related neglected diseases (PRNDs). With European policymakers debating the eighth EU Framework Programme for Research and Innovation (Horizon 2020) and with financial belt-tightening all round, it’s time to take stock. This report analyses the following issues:

  • Is Europe’s investment in PRNDs worthwhile?
  • What is the return on investment for the developing world and for Europe itself?
  • Does the European approach work?

Policy Cures was commissioned to analyse these issues by Deutsche Stiftung Weltbevoelkerung (DSW). The report was launched in Brussels on September 26th 2012.

Download the report Download the Powerpoint presentation in PDF

Saving lives and creating impact: Why investing in global health research works

The United States Government has been at the forefront of the development of new technologies that have brought dramatic improvements in global health over the last half-century. Despite this, the global financial crisis and high levels of debt have led to pressure to scale back US government investment in global health research and development (R&D). There can also be a lack of recognition among some policy makers of the critical role R&D has played.

Download the report

Innovative Financing Mechanisms

In South-East Asia, many people continue to die from preventable infectious diseases such as pneumonia, due to long delays between the advent of a new vaccine and its inclusion in the immunisation programmes of many countries. This ‘vaccine pile-up’ is likely to worsen in the coming decade as new vaccines become available for diseases like dengue, malaria and tuberculosis, and SE Asian countries need to find ways to finance them.

As part of the 2012 Asia-Pacific Development Summit, Policy Cures ran a workshop on ‘Financing for New Vaccines: Options for Asia’. The Policy Briefs below were developed for that workshop.

Policy Brief 1 - Lotteries Policy Brief 2 - Global or Regional Taxes Policy Brief 3 - Bonds Issues Policy Brief 4 - Domestic Taxes Policy Brief 5 - Low-Interest Multilateral Loans Policy Brief 6 - Debt Conversion Policy Brief 7 - Impact Investment Funds Policy Brief 8 - Voluntary Consumer Contributions Policy Brief 9 - Pooled Procurement

Optimal ARVs for the developing world

Most people with HIV live in low-income countries (LICs) but the medicines that can save their lives—anti-retroviral therapies (ARVs)—are not always suited to their needs. In an ideal world, HIV-positive patients in LICs would have access to the best ARVs at the same time as they are available in the West, with these provided in LIC-suitable formulations at low or no-profit prices. In 2011, a group of interested pharmaceutical companies, HIV experts, international organisations and policy-makers convened in London to discuss how this could be done and commissioned research into a potential operating model. The outcomes are discussed in this report.

Staying the course? Malaria research and development in a time of economic uncertainty

Malaria continues to place an enormous economic and health burden on developing countries, where more than three-quarters of a million deaths occur each year. Although the last decade has seen progress in malaria R&D—and we are now on the way to achieving global malaria control, treatment and elimination goals—these gains are fragile, and may be reversed if funding drops.

This report provides detailed analysis of malaria R&D funding data from 2004-2009. The report:

  • Identifies whether R&D funding is likely to meet and match projected needs
  • Pinpoints which product areas are receiving sufficient investment and which areas need their funding ramped up in order make the necessary new products available
Download the report

Vaccine pipelines, bottlenecks and collaborations

We have been commissioned by GAVI to investigate and provide a landscape analysis of vaccines in clinical development to support GAVI’s strategic goal of shaping vaccine markets with regard to pricing and supply security and making catalytic investments to facilitate introduction of appropriate vaccines.

This involved analysis of vaccine pipelines for pneumonia, rotavirus, dengue, malaria and typhoid; identification of bottlenecks to vaccine development and production; examples of collaborative efforts to overcome these bottlenecks; and analysis of gap areas where new initiatives are needed to expedite the vaccine pipeline.

Registering new drugs: The African context

Regulatory processes can cause major delays in African patients receiving new neglected disease drugs. This report identifies hurdles to safe rapid drug registration for African use, and suggests solutions to streamline regional and international regulatory policy.

Download the report

Strengthening pharmaceutical innovation in Africa

African governments face a plethora of challenges in achieving medicines access for their populations, either by importation, local manufacture or local research and development into new products. Working with developing world partners, we developed a decision-making tool and supporting documents to guide African government investment into pharmaceutical innovation.

Download the report

The malaria product pipeline: planning for the future

Rapid development of the malaria product pipeline has led to fears of clinical trial capacity overload and funding shortfalls. Liaising closely with African and Western trial sites and malaria product developers, this report analyses malaria trial site demand and supply, and quantifies funding demand for malaria drug and vaccine development.

Download the report

The new landscape of neglected disease drug development

Prior to 2005, there was a widespread belief that little was happening in neglected disease R&D and scepticism over the roles of Product Development Partnerships and industry. By analysing portfolios and business models, this report demonstrated a burgeoning product pipeline, identified the main players and mapped out new business models and incentives to support this.

Download the report