Should the public pay for risky ventures?

It’s easy to extrapolate the current ideas in fintech (and the venture capital) to healthcare. This write up in Financial Times relates to a state-owned fund for businesses. I have highlighted something specific in the context of public funding of the “scientific experiments” and consequently healthcare.

The UK government’s venture fund has a problem — with failure and success | Financial Times

But minutes from the audit committee of the state-owned British Business Bank, which manages the fund, included comments from non-executive director Dharmash Mistry: “most” companies in the portfolio had “limited chance of growth to a sufficient scale of success” and would become “zombie businesses”, he said.
The comments were marked for redaction as part of a freedom of information request but the text was never removed. They suggest that concerns that the scheme would attract second-rate companies unable to access funds elsewhere may have been well-founded.

Any public funding is under scrutiny, especially for the large tickets. While private capital funded science (to some extent), government backed financial instruments later replaced it, but with the caveat of large bloated bureaucracies. It’s impossible to de-risk and minimise it – grant committees. This, of course, adds huge overheads to the specific implementation and is the current root cause of the scientific “frustration”. There are, of course, clarion calls for proposing “immigration reforms,” and I find it odd for nations with captive populations.

There has been little research about the “research-funding” and is likely to be a “political hot-potato”. It’s “fashionable” to “fund” diversity studies and the “climate-change” through glitzy conferences and “activists” with pitch-forks. Yet, one measurable aspect of the healthcare is preventive healthcare, which barely gets any specific mention in the dispatches. We need to avoid issues before they flare up. It can come up with careful planning and implementation of sound policy decisions. It is not glamorous to speak about prevention in congressional circles, for example, versus a “cogent advocacy” to “release more funds”. My earlier efforts to engage with the “cancer societies” failed to get any traction through their expensive presence in stalls in conferences. It costs more money to fund travel, conferences, printouts and engage with local attendees than to work on grassroots to involve communities for healthier living.

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