Funding innovation in neglected diseases

March 20, 2018

Concerted action is required to reverse downward trends in research and development

Neglected diseases are those with insufficient markets to attract investment from the drug industry. They primarily affect populations living in low income countries and include malaria, tuberculosis, and diarrhoeal diseases.

Public and philanthropic funding is required to develop new health technologies to control these diseases. While funding from public-private partnerships helped to bring 37 new treatments for neglected diseases to market between 2000 and 2011, this represented just 4% of all new therapeutic products registered during this period. As neglected diseases cause about 11% of the global burden of disease, there is clearly a “persistent insufficiency” in research and development (R&D).1 Except for a one-off injection of funding for Ebola and other African viral haemorrhagic fevers, funding for product development for neglected diseases has shown a downward trend since 2009.

Read more from Gavin Yamey in the BMJ.