Achieving many of the health targets in the Sustainable Development Goals will not be possible without increased financing for global health research and development (R&D). Yet financing for neglected disease product development fell from 2009-2015, with the exception of a one-time injection of Ebola funding. An important cause of the global health R&D funding gap is lack of coordination across R&D initiatives. In particular, existing initiatives lack robust priority-setting processes and transparency about investment decisions. Low-income countries (LICs) and middle-income countries (MICs) are also often excluded from global investment initiatives and priority-setting discussions, leading to limited investment by these countries. An overarching global health R&D coordination platform is one promising response to these challenges. This analysis examines the essential functions such a platform must play, how it should be structured to maximise effectiveness and investment strategies for diversifying potential investors, with an emphasis on building LIC and MIC engagement. Our analysis suggests that a coordination platform should have four key functions: building consensus on R&D priorities; facilitating information sharing about past and future investments; building in accountability mechanisms to track R&D spending against investment targets and curating a portfolio of prioritised projects alongside mechanisms to link funders to these projects. Several design features are likely to increase the platform’s success: public ownership and management; separation of coordination and financing functions; inclusion of multiple diseases; coordination across global and national efforts; development of an international R&D ‘roadmap’ and a strategy for the financial sustainability of the platform’s secretariat.
- health policies and all other topics
- child health
- control strategies
- health economics
- health policy
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Handling editor Seye Abimbola
Contributors NB, SF and GY designed the scope of this analysis, conducted the literature review, spoke with R&D experts and attended the two-day workshop hosted by the Duke University Center for Policy Impact in Global Health on funding R&D. NB and SF led the analysis and drafting of the paper. NB, SF, GY and MY revised the paper and approved the final version. GY is the principal investigator on the grant that funded this work. He chaired the Center for Policy Impact in Global Health policy workshop. GY and MY both participated as panellists on the NASEM panel on this topic.
Funding This study was funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation under Grant number OPP1151682.
Competing interests GY declares that the Center for Policy Impact in Global Health has received grant funding from multiple funders that support global health R&D: the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the Global Health Technologies Coalition and the WHO. NB and SF declare that the Global Health Group has received grant funding from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.
Patient consent for publication Not required.
Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.
Data sharing statement There are no additional unpublished data from this study.
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