Health

The European digital health revolution in the wake of COVID-19

Although European health systems have just faced the most challenging public health threat in their modern history, there have been some promising side effects in the form of industry disruptions catalysed by digital health. During this time of crisis, digital health has stepped in to provide expedient healthcare services that offer effectiveness, safety, and even humanity to patients who suffer from chronic conditions or need immediate health care. The European Commission recently recognized this, by proposing the EU4Health programme as part of a larger COVID-19 recovery response programme. The initiative aims to raise €5.1 billion to digitally transform the EU health sector and ensure preparedness for future cross-border health threats.

View Project

Africa needs vaccines. What would it take to make them here?

The authors of this article show that, by their estimates, the public market for vaccines in Africa could rise from $1.3 billion today to between $2.3 billion and $5.4 billion by 2030 (depending on the scenario). While Africa’s population is growing faster than that of most other regions, significant immunization coverage gaps remain, and new products (such as vaccines for Lassa fever or malaria) could be introduced and used widely on the continent. Leaders are increasingly aware of the importance of health security, both for its own sake and as a critical tool for securing the continent’s development, and are increasingly heeding calls for investments into vaccine manufacturing to prevent African countries from being last in line for vital supplies.

View Project

Podcast about vaccines and IP protection

Munk Debates wants to help the world rediscover the art of civil and substantive public debate by convening the brightest thinkers of our time to weigh in on the big issues of the day. Their debate on vaccines provides two interesting perspectives on the vaccine rollout and IP protection.

View Project

GSIV finalists transforming health in developing markets

The UNDP, EPFL, Orange, and SAP have selected Livox, Bempu Health, Vula Mobile, and Mamotest as the health finalists for the Growth Stage Impact Ventures (GSIV) initiative. From Brazil, India, South Africa, and Argentina, respectively, these midcap companies went through GSIV’s rigorous selection process and emerged as the most impactful and investment-ready ventures, providing products and services to facilitate access to quality health care at the bottom of the pyramid.

View Project

Healthcare Innovation Main Driver of European Patent Applications in 2020

The latest statistics published by the European Patent Office (EPO) show that innovation in healthcare was the main driver of patenting activity in 2020.  Medical technology was the field with the most inventions by volume, while pharmaceuticals and biotechnology were the fastest-growing areas.  Indeed, in 2020, medical technology retook the top spot for most inventions (from the field of digital communication), while pharmaceuticals and biotech showed 10.2% and 6.3% increases in patent filing, respectively.

View Project

Covid Vaccines: Intellectual Property and Access, a Melting Pot of Viewpoints

Innovation Council member SARIMA has published an article by Dr Andrew Bailey, in which he explains the various views on the issue of access to IP in light of the COVID-19 pandemic. He sees a need for governments to build capacity in the manufacture of vaccines, in order to both meet local demand and assist with pandemic response. 

During the pandemic, there was incredible collaboration across institutional, corporate, and national boundaries to address the urgent health crisis. Bailey hopes that this experience will shape global thinking about collaboration, and about how to ensure equitable access to healthcare whilst taking care to properly respect the infrastructural investments, trade secrets, and know-how of manufacturers.

View Project

Bio-Pharmaceutical Manufacturing and R&D: The Impact of Policy Coherence in Trade Policy

This Innovation Council working paper illustrates the importance of policy coherence in the realm of biopharmaceutical manufacturing and R&D. Specifically, it shows that investing in diversified, geographically dispersed sources of R&D and production can increase manufacturing capacity and strengthen health security by complementing existing pharmaceutical production chains, thus making them less vulnerable to future supply chain shocks. It shows that counterproductive trade measures, such as tariffs on the development and production of vaccines and other health technologies, can slow development, and that—especially in light of the experience of Covid-19—distributed manufacturing and R&D capabilities are particularly useful in the area of biopharmaceuticals.

View Project

The pandemic has inspired and challenged medical innovation

The need for new and more effective methods of prevention and treatment is constant, and the spread of COVID-19 has emphasized that demand. During the Farley Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation’s “Healthcare Innovation during the COVID-19 Pandemic” discussion on February 12, experts from academia and industry examined the latest advances in the field and how the very process of medical innovation is being reinvented amid the greatest global health crisis in at least a century. One conclusion they found: Reinventing innovation can mean re-applying ideas used previously.

Read the full story.

View Project

Considering All Sides of Medicines Patents

For many years, policy experts and others have engaged in wide-ranging debates about patents on pharmaceuticals, particularly in developing countries. On the one hand, it has been argued that IP protection provides crucial incentives to the pharmaceutical industry to undertake more research on tropical diseases. On the other hand, the patenting of pharmaceuticals has been criticised as causing challenges regarding access to medicines. The brief examines in detail the rationale for patenting medicines. The examination includes an investigation into the role of the patent system in relation to the pharmaceutical industry, the moral limits of patents, how the exclusion of a patent can create social costs, the rationale for the patenting of  medicines and the incentive theory and how this can be balanced with access to medicines.

Read the full story.

View Project