The health sector is one of the most innovative sectors of activity, yet access to innovation, and its financing in particular, is one of the main challenges facing health systems today.
If we look at investment in R&D&I on the sector’s sales, the pharmaceutical and biotechnology industry and the health equipment industry are among the sectors that invest most in innovation.
In 2015, the pharmaceutical industry invested 900 million euros, representing 20% of total industrial investment in Spain. The turnover of the pharmaceutical sector accounts for 2.4% of the industrial total, making it by far the industry that invests most in R&D.
In a broad sense, health technology is: “the application of organised knowledge and skills in the form of devices, medicines, vaccines, procedures and systems developed to solve a health problem and improve quality of life” (WHO).
Innovation in health technology, as understood in the above definition, has been instrumental in improving the health status of the population. In fact, some studies estimate that 40% of the improvement in health is explained by innovation in medicines. But the role of health technologies is traditionally at the centre of the debate on the sustainability of health systems, mainly because of their high cost (generally higher than the technology they replace) and because they are the main cause of growth in expenditure, according to several studies.
In this document we will focus on addressing the first aspect: financing innovation in health technology.