Global Health R&D and the UKGlobal Health Series: Support for global health research and development is currently one of the core activities of DSW’s advocacy work in Brussels and across Europe. We are actively working with partners across the region to make sure that the value of global health R&D is understood at all political levels, working together to improve the global health situation in low- and middle-income countries. As part of this work, we have launched a series of policy briefs on the issue of global health research and development. So far we in the last month we have looked at: the value of investing in global health R&D for Europe at a time of economic instability; how we can use innovative new models for product development and how we can do this through mechanisms such as PDPs; and what the gaps and opportunities are in R&D for reproductive, maternal, newborn and child health.

This week, in collaboration with our partners RESULTS UK, we review the UK’s role as a leading player in global health R&D.

Investing now for future health: the UK and Global Health R&D

The UK has taken a leading role in the European and Developing Countries Clinical Trials Partnership (EDCTP) providing €36.7 million in restricted cash and in-kind contributions of €12.5 million to the public-private partnership focused on poverty-related and neglected tropical diseases. This was the biggest contribution of any of the participating states. This leadership looks set to continue during the second phase of EDCTP. The UK has already committed €2.3 million for 2014 which will be jointly provided by the Department for International Development (DFID) and the Medical Research Council (MRC). Through these activities, the UK has been instrumental in ensuring success in the field of R&D for global health and in ensuring progress in the fight against HIV and AIDS, TB and malaria.

Global Health R&D and the UK: case studies

In total, there are 82 projects with UK collaborators, with a total of 106 researchers involved. Current projects that the UK is heavily involved in are an initiative aimed at improved paediatric antiretroviral (ARV) therapies, and on the development of a new vaccine which is expected to have a significant impact on addressing the TB epidemic.

The value of Global Health R&D and the UKGlobal Health RD and the UK

Investment by the UK has had significant impact on harnessing global health R&D to eradicate diseases such as HIV and AIDS, TB, malaria and other neglected tropical diseases. This investment also has a positive influence in the UK itself, supporting the UK’s national R&D industry as well. Examples of this boomerang effect include access in the UK to new child-focused ARVs or new and more effective interventions for TB that can be used to tackle people living with TB in the UK. The UK is the only country where the national MRC works as closely with the international development agency. The MRC is able to use DFID’s networks and contacts when working internationally and DFID is able to use the MRC’s research networks. Working jointly DFID and the MRC have a greater critical mass than either working individually.

Global Health R&D and the UK: what can parliamentarians do?

In order to build on these achievements, political support in the run-up to the finalisation of the post-2015 agenda for global health R&D is crucial. Parliamentarians in this case have a vital role to play in making sure global health R&D for the UK remains a priority, and they continue to support the EDCTP. This support can take a number of forms, and parliamentarians should use the UKs leading role in global health R&D to champion EDCTP in Europe as a key investment that has proven success in global health; and Encourage other participating states to increase cash contributions to EDCTP.

DSW will join RESULTS UK, the EDCTP, the UK APPG on TB and many others to launch the paper and celebrate UK efforts in global health R&D on Tuesday 21st October in London. You acn find out more information about the event here.

Download the briefing paper on the UK’s role in global health R&D.