Health Ministry plans new Medical Research Agency

Minister of Health, Łukasz Szumowski. The Ministry plans to establish a new institution to boost research and enhance the level of medical services. Paweł Supernak/PAP

Funding research and innovation in medicine, as well as increasing the effectiveness of the health care system in Poland are the goals of the Medical Research Agency (Agencja Badań Medycznych), that the Ministry of Health is planning to establish.

Minister of Health, Łukasz Szumowski told a press conference: “The Medical research Agency will serve non-commercial clinical research. Most of those conducted in Poland are sponsored by private companies and they do them in the fields that are the most profitable for them.

“We want to take care and include in medical trials patients who, to put it bluntly, are not profitable for the companies. For example rare diseases or paediatrics.” 

Non-commercial medical research, sponsored by the state usually amounts to 20 percent of all conducted research, while in Poland it is only 1 percent.

“We must chase Europe in this respect,” Szumowski emphasised.

The project for the new institution, which is currently undergoing public consultations, aims to financially support new technologies, products and procedures.

The Ministry of Health explained in an official statement: “The health system’s financing should not be limited to health care services and providing broader health security. Every health system should offer health services that are most effective.”

The new institution will focus not only on research and science, but also improvements to the already existing health care system.

“Such an obligation requires conducting research, that will provide new systemic solutions. It is not enough to base the national health care system on solutions that are imported or purchased from external providers,” the Ministry continued.

To ensure the long term development of the medical sector in Poland and the highest standards of the services offered to patients, the institution will offer grants to companies and research facilities working on innovative and applicable ideas, as well as have a positive impact on the long-term development of medicine.

The Medical Research Agency will be financed by the state budget, 0,3 percent of the NFZ’s (National Health Fund) income and EU funds. The yearly cost of the institution is estimated to be 9 million PLN (over 2.1 million EUR).