Health ROI as a measure of misalignment of biomedical needs and resources

With a growing demand and a diversity of health problems on the one hand and finite resources on the other, scientists and funding agencies are faced with difficult choices about which conditions to study and cure. In this Correspondence, we liken investment in understanding disease and discovering remedies to trades in a financial market. Research attention and funding, as traced by articles, grants and clinical trials, constitute subjective ‘prices’ that scientists and society pay for research on disease-specific therapies. In finance, the Black-Scholes-Merton model was introduced as a tool to estimate the intrinsic ‘value’ of stock options and guide capital investment. Here, we present a health research opportunity index (health ROI) to measure the misalignment of biomedical
needs and resources. Our health ROIs suggest where greater returns on investment in health research could be obtained for society.

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PMID: 26252133