- R&D, health system capacity-strengthening efforts, and medicine donations comprise pharmaceutical industry's holistic approach to addressing neglected diseases
- As part of the pharmaceutical industry's commitment to improve global health, IFPMA members pledged1 to donate an average of 14 billion treatments this decade (2011-2020) to fight neglected diseases
- IFPMA members are conducting 162 R&D projects to find new or improved vaccines and treatments for neglected diseases
- The pharmaceutical industry is the third largest funder of R&D for neglected diseases
One person in seven suffers from neglected diseases. Each year neglected diseases disproportionately disable or kill millions of poor people primarily in tropical and subtropical areas of the world.
Neglected diseases are a group of debilitating conditions often linked to poverty. They can cause blindness, chronic pain, severe disability, disfigurement or even death. Affecting both children and adults, these diseases can impair childhood development, lead to stigmatization, and hinder economic productivity by limiting the ability of infected individuals to work. Their impact on individuals and communities is devastating. As long as neglected diseases continue to be endemic in poor countries, they will contribute to a vicious cycle of poverty in these regions.
Stopping neglected diseases is achievable. Success relies on multi-stakeholder approaches, which not only drive further R&D but also integrate environmental improvements, boosting capacity-strengthening efforts, effective health policies, better screening and availability of quality, safe and effective medicines.
Cutting-edge R&D for unmet health needs
IFPMA member companies currently work on 162 R&D projects2. The focus is on developing new or improved medicines and vaccines for 11 neglected conditions. These diseases are: tuberculosis, malaria, human African trypanosomiasis (sleeping sickness), leishmaniasis, dengue, onchocerciasis (river blindness), American trypanosomiasis (Chagas disease), schistosomiasis, lymphatic filariasis, buruli ulcer and soil-transmitted helminthic diseases. Of the 162 current R&D projects listed in this status report, 140 (86%) are product development partnerships (PDPs) involving IFPMA member companies, the remaining 22 projects are company-only undertakings. Since 2012, the number of medicine and vaccine R&D projects has increased by over 20%, from 132 to 162.
Data from the sixth annual G-FINDER report “Neglected Disease Research and Development: The Public Divide” (December 2013) shows total R&D funding for neglected diseases as USD 3.2 billion in 2012. The public sector provides nearly two-thirds (USD 2.0 billion, 63.2%) of global funding for R&D followed by the philanthropic sector contributions (USD 631 million, 19.9%) and the pharmaceutical industry (USD 527.2 million, 16.7%). The majority of multinational pharmaceutical companies’ investments in neglected disease R&D in 2012 focused on three diseases: Dengue, tuberculosis and malaria. However, year-on-year investments increased for most diseases, including Dengue (up USD 11.9m, 7.9%), malaria (up USD 11.9m, 12.6%), kinetoplastids (up USD 4.2m, 46.0%), diarrhoeal diseases (up USD 3.8m, 17.6%), and bacterial pneumonia & meningitis (up USD 1.4m, 4.4%).
A holistic approach to fight neglected diseases
Taking a holistic approach involving partnerships is key to tackling neglected diseases and reducing the burden on people. In addition to R&D, IFPMA members partner with WHO and other partners to implement prevention/awareness/outreach programs, improvements in health system infrastructures, and training.
These efforts are complemented by medicine donation programs. As part of the pharmaceutical industry's commitment to improve global health, IFPMA members pledged3 to donate 14 billion treatments during this decade (2011 to 2020). These treatments will help eliminate or control the nine neglected diseases responsible for more than 90% of the global neglected diseases burden.
(2) A project is a compound in development for a specific disease target, or a program to screen compounds against a specific disease. Data are from responses to IFPMA queries and open sources.
There are 17 neglected tropical diseases (NTDs) , as defined by the World Health Organization (WHO). These diseases thrive in impoverished settings, especially in the heat and humidity of tropical climates, and most are parasitic infections. Neglected tropical diseases kill or disable millions of people every year.
- Pharmaceutical R&D Projects to Develop New Cures for Patients with Neglected Conditions
- IFPMA Publication: Ending neglected tropical diseases 2012
- IFPMA News Release Research-based pharmaceutical industry pledges 14 billion treatments to help end nine neglected tropical diseases, 30 January 2012
- IFPMA Statement Under Agenda Item 6.11, "Elimination of Schistosomiasis" at 130th Executive Board of the WHO, 20 January 2012
- IFPMA Statement WHO NTD Report, 14 October 2010
- IFPMA Principles to facilitate pharmaceutical industry collaboration in ‘neglected’ disease areas
- IFPMA Infographic about Vector-borne diseases
- WHO Infographic about Vector-Borne diseases
- IFPMA Infographic: NTDs (Flickr)
- WHO - Sustaining the drive to overcome the global impact of neglected tropical d
- WHO - Main neglected tropical diseases
- Collaborative Innovation Models (link to internal page)
- G-Finder Report 2012
- G-Finder Highlights 2012
- G-Finder Report 2012 News Release
- WHO Neglected Tropical Diseases
- WIPO Re:Search
- WIPO Re:Search Flyer