Innovation

OHE's Jorge Mestre-Ferrandiz reviewed the results of OHE's recent study on the R&D cost of developing a new drug at a seminar at University College London. Released in December 2012, the study's purpose was to capture and examine in one place the important research on the cost of drug development that had been published over the past 30 years.

How much it costs to research and develop a successful new medicine has been an important policy issue at least since the 1960s. Cost estimates matter not just because of intellectual curiosity or for industry understanding of its performance, but because they are a key aspect of the international debate about the reasonableness of pharmaceutical prices and the magnitude of the long-term investments involved. The Office of Health Economics today released a comprehensive study of the cost of R&D for new medicines.

One of the greatest challenges in biomedical and health research is ensuring that research findings are translated effectively and without undue delay from ‘bench to bedside’. As previous analysis has made clear, the time that elapses between discoveries in medical research and adoption in practice is important. Longer time lags mean a lower rate of return on the research investment, which makes it less attractive to do the research in the first place.

OHE has just published a Seminar Briefing by Ulf Persson, head of the Swedish Institute of Health Economics, which reviews experience with the Swedish value based pricing (VBP) system. Prof Persson is a member of the board of the TLV, which is the health technology assessment (HTA) agency in Sweden.

OHE’s health and health care statistics service long has been respected as a source of reliable data. In an OHE Briefing just published, OHE uses this data to take a closer look at what has been responsible for changes in the causes of death in England and Wales.

In this OHE lunchtime seminar, Prof Heidi Williams of MIT will present the results of a recent paper using newly-collected data on the sequencing of the human genome by the public Human Genome Project and the private firm Celera to investigate how Celera's gene-level IP influenced subsequent scientific research and product development.

To celebrate its 50th Anniversary, OHE held a conference this week, The Challenges and Economics of Drug Development in 2022, which explored the likely evolution of the key aspects of drug development over the next ten years. The conference was attended by over 100 participants from the public and private sectors; speakers and panellists included leaders from drug regulatory agencies, health technology assessment (HTA) groups, payers, the pharmaceutical industry, private foundations, and academia.

Between 1962 and 1998, OHE published more than 100 booklets on various diseases and conditions as part of a series on “current health problems”. The first and the last of the disease state papers were on the same illness: tuberculosis. The first paper, from 1962, was the OHE’s first publication; the second, the last in the series, was published in 1998. What is most remarkable in comparing these two is less the change in successful treatment than the context within which the disease exists.

The Economics of Drug Development in 2022 On 8 October, 2012, in celebration of its 50th anniversary, OHE will be holding an important conference to consider what drug development may look like ten years hence, in 2022. The conference will be held in London on Monday, 8 October 2012.

Now available from the OHE website, this report provides a clear explanation of the complex nature of innovation in medicines. A fully revised and expanded version of the 2005 edition of The Many Faces of Innovation, it updates the review of the literature on the economics of innovation, traces important innovation that has occurred since the earlier report, adds new case studies, and updates the discussion of competition in pharmaceutical R&D.

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