Options for Sustainable Funding of a Voluntary Pooled Fund to Support Health Research and Development. (Background document to EB140/21: “Follow-up of the report of the Consultative Expert Working Group on Research and Development: Financing and Coordination”)
(2016; 18 pages)


The World Health Assembly asked the Director-General to provide options for sustainable funding of a voluntary pooled fund to support research and development for Type III and Type II diseases, and specific research and development needs of developing countries in relation to Type I diseases (Resolution WHA69.23 operative paragraph 2.9). Based upon recommendations of the study “Health Product Research and Development Fund: A Proposal for Financing and Operation,”1 this background document explores options for sustainable funding of a medium-pooled fund that disburses US$100 million per year.

If Member States decide to set up the voluntary pooled fund, it is essential that the fund is financed in a sustainable way to ensure long-term success. A financing mechanism has to guarantee that the fund can be scaled up over a ten year period to the envisaged size of US$100 million and continues to be funded over a longer period in time.

Options discussed in this document include opportunities for governments to find new sources for contributions to the voluntary pooled fund and leveraging private sector funds through corporate social responsibility and matching funds. Further financing options that are assessed comprise debt tools (bond models and development bank loans), pull mechanisms (advanced market commitments and social impact bonds) and the sale of priority review vouchers. Overall, the fairly limited size of the fund is one reason why some of the potentially more innovative funding mechanisms are not suitable.

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