Originally trained as a medical doctor, Richard Laing worked for the Ministry of Health in Zimbabwe for over 18 years, during which time he undertook postgraduate Masters and Doctoral studies on Community Health for Developing Countries and on Comparative Health Systems & Policy Analysis. After receiving his degrees, he spent 13 years working for Management Sciences for Health (MSH) and establishing the International Network for the Rational Use of Drugs. Following his work with MSH, Dr. Laing taught international publish health at the Boston University School of Public Health (BUSPH) before joining WHO as a medical officer. At WHO, he was responsible for editing the Essential Drugs Monitor and for leading the team responsible for Medicines Evidence and Information for Policy. He was one of the authors of the Priority Medicines for Europe and the World report 2004 (and the update in 2013), and of the report From Access to Adherence The Challenges of Anti Retroviral Treatment. He has been engaged in working on measurement of medicines pricing and availability as part of the joint WHO/HAI project on Medicine prices. Working with IMS Health, he has reported on the impact of the global recession on the pharmaceutical sector. Recently he has published research on the availability and price of chronic disease medicines. He was also the editor for the third edition of the World Medicines Situation Report. Dr. Laing has rejoined the faculty at BUSPH and will be teaching on pharmaceutical topics within the Pharmaceuticals Program.
In addition to his BUSPH post, he holds a faculty appointment at the University of Western Cape in South Africa where he teaches short and distance learning courses related to Pharmaceuticals Access. His research activities relates to global access to insulin, development of core and composite indicators for pharmaceutical systems and evaluation of pharmaceutical company access programs.