The European Union is a key actor in the fight against poverty-related and neglected diseases, such as HIV/Aids, tuberculosis and malaria. Financing Research & Development (R&D) helps save lives, fight against epidemics, prevent future health crises, reach the SDGs, contribute to the creation of qualified jobs and stimulate science in the EU.
The EU Framework Programme for Research and Innovation, « Horizon 2020 » (2014-2020), with a budget of €77 billion will soon be renewed under « Horizon Europe » (2021-2027). The European Commission pursues two objectives with this programme : improving economic growth and creating jobs and addressing major societal challenges.
EU’s investments have resulted in new treatments, accelerated research into new vaccines for many diseases and financed ambitious global health research. However, key issues remain : despite massive EU investments, there is a lack of commercial incentives for investments into R&D for many diseases such as malaria and TB or resistance to antimicrobials. There are no conditionalities attached to EU research funds in terms of financial or geographic access to end-products or transparency of R&D costs. Our current biomedical R&D system, while heavily funded by public money evolved towards a market-oriented model maximising private return on public investments. As a result, the current system does not effectively respond to public health needs with States unable to further the right to health.
Health R&D should prioritise public health and patients’ needs, guarantee quality of innovative medicines and fight against inequalities at the European and the global level. We’re asking for:
- The health budget under « Horizon Europe » to be increased in order to give the EU the means to repond to the unprecedented COVID19 crisis and reach SDG3. Not less than 10% of the « Horizon Europe » budget should be allocated to health.
- Strategic priorities of « Horizon Europe » to be defined together with civil society, according to public health needs and taking into account existing financing gaps for poverty-related and neglected diseases.
- The Innovative Medicines Initiative (IMI) to be reformed towards more transparency and inclusiveness.
- Bilateral trade agreements to remove « TRIPS-plus » regulations (Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights) which help further monopolies and refrain States from putting conditionalities to public financing.