The Bright Elusive Butterfly of Value in Health Technology Development; Comment on “Providing Value to New Health Technology: The Early Contribution of Entrepreneurs, Investors, and Regulatory Agencies”

Document Type: Commentary

Authors

Nuffield Department of Primary Care Health Sciences, University of Oxford, Oxford, UK

Abstract

The current system of health technology development is characterised by multiple misalignments. The “supply” side (innovation policy-makers, entrepreneurs, investors) and the “demand” side (health policy-makers, regulators, health technology assessment, purchasers) operate under different – and conflicting – logics. The system is less a “pathway” than an unstable ecosystem of multiple interacting sub-systems. “Value” means different things to each of the numerous actors involved. Supply-side dynamics are built on fictions; regulatory checks and balances are designed to assure quality, safety and efficacy, not to ensure that technologies entering the market are either desirable or cost-effective. Assessment of comparative and cost-effectiveness usually comes too late in the process to shape an innovation’s development.
 
We offer no simple solutions to these problems, but in the spirit of commencing a much-needed public debate, we suggest some tentative ways forward. First, universities and public research funders should play a more proactive role in shaping the system. Second, the role of industry in forging long-term strategic partnerships for public benefit should be acknowledged (though not uncritically). Third, models of “responsible innovation” and public input to research priority-setting should be explored. Finally, the evidence base on how best to govern inter-sectoral health research partnerships should be developed and applied.

Keywords

Main Subjects


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