Monday, September 3, 2012
Health R&D spending for major Western countries
appears to have slowed, while emerging market economies China and South Korea
continue to accelerate investment, and has Japan. Flat growth in the U.S. looks
even worse when adjusted for inflation (see "Facing Reality," A5).
In Germany and France, two of the largest economies in Europe, the average
annual growth rate in government budget appropriations or outlays for R&D
(GBAORD) in health grew 6-8% over 2000-09, then slowed to 2%.
In the U.K., health GBAORD has grown 7% per year from
2000 to 2010. At the end of 2011, the government said it would continue to
increase spending in the life sciences, including £1 billion ($1.6 billion) to
be invested in 2012 by the Medical Research Council and Biotechnology
and Biological Sciences Research Council, and nearly £1 billion ($1.6
billion) invested annually in the health research and NHS research
infrastructure. South Korea's GBAORD has grown 12% annually over the
past three years. Japan's grew 5% over 2000-09 then accelerated to 9%. GBAORD
data are not available for China. In the Aug. 23 New England Journal of
Medicine, authors from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Clinical
Scholars Program and colleagues estimated Chinese government medical research expenditures
increased 67% to $567 million in 2010. According to ChinaBio LLC President
Greg Scott, the government has committed more than $3 billion to new medicine
R&D as part of its 2011-2015 plan.
Spending by philanthropies the Howard Hughes
Medical Institute and the Wellcome Trust also has slowed or
declined. Since the 2008/09 financial crisis, HHMI's endowment has declined,
while Wellcome's endowment is basically unchanged. GBAORD figures from the Organization
for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) for selected countries are
charted against the NIH budget. GBAORD figures focus on the socio-economic
objective of "health" but may under-represent basic life science
research spending due to the classification system used by OECD. All figures
are adjusted for purchasing power parity (PPP). (A) 2011 GBAORD data for U.K.
not available; (B) Charitable funding committed each year; (C) Annual cash
disbursements; Sources: NIH; OECD; HHMI; Wellcome Trust