Innovation and Public Health

The patent system is one important incentive for promoting research and innovation in new medicines and other products. But the patent system is only one element that contributes to innovation.

Government spending on higher education and R&D underpins the work of the private sector in drug and product development, and finances types of health-related research that are important for public health but not undertaken by the private sector. Increasingly, non-profit foundations are becoming important funders of R&D for diseases that particularly affect developing countries.

Other forms of incentives to stimulate innovation, or new models of innovation, also need to be considered for their potential impact. Current research priorities, particularly in respect of the needs of developing countries, deserve to be assessed.