Access to healthcare interventions

Everyone should have access to the life-changing benefits of medicines and other healthcare interventions, like vaccines, diagnostics and therapies.

However, despite medical advances, some people can’t get the healthcare interventions they need, particularly in low- and middle-income countries. 

Our position 

Increasing access to healthcare interventions doesn’t need to come at the expense of innovation, or vice-versa. The public and private sectors must work together to increase the range of interventions available and the number of people who can access them.

Intellectual property rights and commercial reward have a role to play in developing and delivering interventions – but health benefit should be the priority. 

We’re committed to making sure that the healthcare interventions we support are affordable, appropriate, adapted and available, particularly in low-and middle-income countries.

There is no one-size-fits-all solution. Research funders and pharmaceutical companies should use practices like voluntary licensing, patent pooling, and equitable pricing to make sure healthcare interventions are accessible to the people who need them most.  

Read our full approach to equitable access to healthcare interventions.  

Why access to healthcare interventions matters

  • 30% of the world’s population, and over 50% of the population in parts of Africa and Asia, do not have regular access to essential medicines
  • Around two billion people worldwide lack access to life-changing medicines and other healthcare interventions. 

Sources: World Health Organization – Equitable access to essential medicines and WHO Medicines Strategy(opens in a new tab)

What we’re doing 

Embedding access in our funding

We want the people we fund to maximise access to the healthcare interventions they’re researching and developing.

To support our grantholders we:

We’re planning to publish an annual report on the impact our funding policies and award conditions have had on improving access. The report will respect grantholder and commercial confidentiality.

Working with funding partners 

We expect all our funding partnerships to apply the principles outlined in our approach to equitable access to healthcare interventions.

Working with others

We’re working with public, private and civil society organisations to better understand and overcome the challenges around access to healthcare interventions, particularly those that can be addressed during the research and development phase.  

To begin with, we will:

  • develop initiatives and resources to help other research funders increase access to healthcare interventions they support
  • explore how to monitor and evaluate the impact of initiatives to improve access. 

Reports and consultations 

Access to healthcare interventions

[Summary] Wellcome’s first access to healthcare interventions report outlines major challenges faced by funders of R&D for health, and makes five commitments.

Contact us 

If you have any questions, contact William Hall