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Fiscal Challenges Show Need For Biomedical Innovation

By Ideas Lab Staff January 3, 2013

A managing director for Brookings’ Engelberg Center for Health Care Reform, analyzes biomedical innovation in a challenging economy.

Today’s economic challenges, particularly the lack of additional public funding and private investments for biomedical research, point to the need for new strategies to improve productivity, according to an analysis by Gregory W. Daniel, managing director for evidence development and innovation at the Engelberg Center.

In a post for Brookings, Daniel argued that “it is more important than ever to identify ways that current levels of investment could have greater impact rather than simply increasing the level of spending. In other words, we need to be able to do more with less.”

He noted that the U.S. biomedical “innovation ecosystem” of stakeholders is in a period of stress, as the cost and time associated with developing new biomedical products have steadily increased while the rate at which those new products enter the market has remained constant over the last few decades. For evidence, Daniel points to a report by the President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology, which outlines several recommendations that are “aimed at doubling over the next decade the rate of invention of innovative new medicines for patients, while increasing drug safety.”

Considering the economic challenges, Daniel writes that we should create more efficiencies in the biomedical development process and generate more meaningful evidence on development targets to make research investments go further, particularly for small startup companies that often struggle to raise enough funds for advanced clinical trials. Creative partnerships also could be formed to allow companies to share data and research, and a “learning health system” could provide a data environment that supports research, benefit/risk assessment and health care decision-making, he suggested.

Finally, Daniel argues that it will be important for stakeholders to improve the ways translational and regulatory sciences support one another to address the various challenges to improving biomedical innovation.