What can the UK government do?

To avoid high prices, governments need to take control of the research they fund so that all patients can share the benefits. Currently, we don’t know how our public money has contributed to the Research and Development (R&D) of medicines and we have no guarantees that public funds will lead to affordable medicines.

Attach public interest conditions

to all public funding for medical R&D so all end products that have benefited from public funding will be affordable and accessible to those that need them.

Demand transparency from pharmaceuticals

about R&D costs, including mandatory reporting about the use of public funds and incentives in R&D, clinical trials and price negotiations.

Enable citizen accountability

by developing a system for monitoring the societal impact of public R&D funding and assigning a cross-departmental team to manage medical R&D across Whitehall

The UK is the 3rd largest global health R&D funder and the Conservatives have made strong commitments to health R&D. Now is the time to ensure that our R&D commitments deliver the medicines we need at prices we can afford

Ultimately we want to change the way research and development (R&D) is undertaken in order to secure affordable and appropriate medicines for all

The United Nations sought to address this by bringing together a group of experts to form the High Level Panel on Access to Medicines. The panel suggested a number for solutions to transform our system for Research and Development (R&D)

Many of these recommendations have been put forward in other reports, including from the WHO’s Consultative Expert Working Group on R&D that DFID directly supported and the report ‘Tackling Drug-Resistant Infections Globally; the Review on Antimicrobial Resistance’. In April 2017, a number of MPs raised these recommendations in Parliament in the backbench business debate, ‘Stimulating Research into Infectious Diseases’.

In light of these recommendations, we also encourage the UK to explore and provide political and financial support to alternative R&D models that de-link the costs of R&D from the final cost of a drug. Other models that incentivize medical innovation include using cash prizes and grants, also known as push and pull funding. This money is awarded to organizations to kick-start the R&D process or to reward innovation (respectively) on the condition that anything which is produced is not patented. With no patent, other organisations can produce the same medicine and this competition will bring the price down.

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