Exploring a new social contract for medical innovation

In summer 2015, the Academy of Medical Sciences, British Academy and Medical Innovation Academic Consortium hosted a workshop to explore the concept of a new social contract for medical innovation.

Status: Completed

On 3 June 2015, the Academy of Medical Sciences and the British Academy, in association with the Medical Innovation Academic Consortium, jointly hosted a one-day workshop entitled ‘Exploring a new social contract for medical innovation’. 
The meeting aimed to explore what is known, and what remains to be known, about how the value and risks of medical innovation are perceived and acted upon throughout society. It considered whether there is a need to adopt a new social contract for medical innovation – a conceptual agreement whereby the diverse interests of different stakeholders are reconciled in order to achieve a common good, in this case an effective and sustainable heath system, of which a key aspect is the adoption of medical innovation.
The workshop brought together key stakeholders from across the medical innovation landscape, including representatives from health economics, social sciences, humanities, patient advocates, and experts in public deliberations to:
  • Explore the perceptions of risk and value in relation to medical innovation from the perspectives of individuals, organisations, and society. 
  • Understand the interactions between individuals, organisations, and society and how each group’s actions and needs might influence, or be influenced by, the actions and needs of the others. 
  • Consider how to engage all groups of stakeholders (in particular individuals who tend to be underrepresented) in dialogue about the future of medical innovation. 
Discussion centred around the perceptions of value and risk of medical innovation in future healthcare delivery, the importance of the NHS in any social contract for the delivery of health, and the need to publically engage with both patients and broader society in any dialogues about the future of medical innovation. A number of broad themes emerged from the day, including the importance of the NHS, trust, values, rights and responsibilities, and the complexity of the issues being discussed. Further important topics discussed at the meeting included innovation, data, communication and financial concerns. 
Participants also considered ways in which wider dialogue about developing a new social contract for medical innovation could be initiated, and how to ensure that future discussions and recommendations are shaped by the views of wider society. An infographic providing a visual summary of these discussions can be found by clicking the ‘Infographic’ tab above. 
A full report of the workshop can be downloaded from the right-hand side of this page. The meeting discussions also fed into our project on 'Enhancing the use of scientific evidence to judge the potentail benefits and harms of medicines'

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