Evaluating the Impact of EU R&D on Poverty-Related and Neglected Diseases (PRNDs)

Medical researcher uses pipette to drop blood on a sterile slide

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Background

Every year millions of lives are plagued by infectious diseases like HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis (TB), and malaria or other parasitic diseases. These diseases disproportionally affect those in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs) — where access to good quality health care, safe drinking water and hygienic living conditions are often not guaranteed — and are therefore commonly referred to as ‘poverty-related and neglected diseases’ (PRNDs). The burden from PRND-associated morbidity and mortality often places people in a vicious cycle of poverty and disease. Fighting these diseases thus serves both a social and an economic imperative.

EU investment in research for PRNDs has primarily been directed to developing new medicines, diagnostics and vaccines. These are essential steps on the pathway to achieve Universal Health Coverage (UHC) for PRNDs, a pathway that starts with the existence of a product that is proven to be safe and effective, affordable, accessible and of assured quality.

At the request of the European Parliament, the European Commission Research and Innovation Directorate has been tasked to carry out a study describing the role of R&D on PRND in contributing to achieving UHC and in improving the health situation in low- and middle-income countries.

Goals

RAND Europe and Technopolis Group, with support from Baird’s CMC and Institut de Recherche en Sciences de la Santé (IRSS), have been commissioned to conduct a study which seeks to evaluate the role and impact of EU-funded R&D in the field of PRNDs.

The overarching aim of this work is to evaluate the role of R&D on PRNDs in contributing to achieving UHC and improving population health in LMICs.

This aim is directly allied to the Commission’s intention to learn from prior investments to inform future direction. With the inextricable links between health, wealth and sustainable development in mind, evaluating European Union’s contributions to the global health landscape, and learning from prior investments is central to wider global efforts to achieve sustainable change, including as part of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).

EU investment in R&D on PRNDs has focused predominantly (although not exclusively) on initiatives that could contribute to developing new medicines, diagnostics and vaccines. A central tenet of these investments is recognition of the importance R&D as a first step in the wider pathway of efforts to achieve affordability and access to safe, efficient and effective health innovation and UHC for PRNDs. Related to this is recognition of the importance of international cooperation, towards this end.

A series of interrelated objectives are associated with the study’s overarching aim. These include:

  • Tracking investment into R&D for PRNDs
  • Evaluating how the outputs of this R&D are being translated into resources for achieving universal health coverage (UHC)
  • Identifying and tracking both direct and indirect effects from investments
  • Establishing recommendations

Project Team

Joanna Chataway
Molly Morgan Jones
Gavin Cochrane
Sonja Marjanovic
Emma Pitchforth
Ioana Ghiga
Louise Lepetit
Calum MacLure