Innovation can refer to new discoveries, new approaches and improvements to existing technologies.
In healthcare this may mean innovations in drugs, medical devices, diagnostic tests, clinical interventions, and methods for preventing or managing health conditions.
Innovations can also include novel approaches to how doctors and other healthcare professionals manage hospital schedules, for example, or the introduction of new surgical techniques and ways to communicate.
An inseparable link
We believe that access to healthcare and innovation in research and treatment are inseparable. Scientific and medical innovation has the potential to make a dramatic impact on individual and public health, increasing life expectancy and quality of life worldwide. Without effective access, innovation generates little benefit; without innovation, treatment and outcomes will not improve.
Ensuring that patients have access to appropriate, high quality, safe and effective medicines is a goal of patient-centred healthcare. Innovation can contribute to further improving health outcomes and responding to unmet needs, so promoting safe innovation and ensuring equitable access is crucial.
We believe that access to healthcare, and innovation in research and treatment are inseparable. Scientific and medical innovation has the potential to make a dramatic impact on individual and public health, increasing life expectancy and quality of life worldwide.
Next wave of innovations
The next wave of innovations should be characterised by the greater involvement of patients in setting priorities and ensuring that innovations reach those in need, regardless of their income. Many new treatments available to patients can be very expensive, for example biotechnology medicines, so mechanisms should be in place to ensure sustainable and equitable distribution of medicines, treatments and new technologies.
A global, multi-stakeholder approach including patients and patients’ organizations at the centre of discussions will help to ensure that patients in all countries can benefit from innovative research, treatments and technologies.
On 28 January 2014, University College London (UCL) School of Pharmacy published the report 'Patients’ Needs, Medicines Innovation and the Global Public’s Interests' which was funded by IAPO to provide patient advocates with background information on the issues, challenges and opportunities relevant to innovation and to promote open debate and dialogue.
The paper will contribute to IAPO’s ongoing work in the area of access to health and universal health coverage including health financing and the role of innovation. IAPO received grants from Janssen and the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers’ Association of America (PhRMA) in order to fund this report.