New report shows major increase in pharmaceutical research and development (R&D) for neglected diseases

Published on: 16 January 2013


  • Review shows 40 percent increase in R&D programs led by industry to find new or improved vaccines and treatments for ailments affecting more than one billion people
  • R&D, health system capacity-strengthening efforts, and medicine donations comprise industry’s holistic approach to addressing neglected diseases
  • Increased donations speed WHO’s ability to deliver medicines to people in need

Today the International Federation of Pharmaceutical Manufacturers & Associations (IFPMA) released its 2012 status report on pharmaceutical R&D to address neglected diseases that disproportionately affect people in low- and middle- income countries. Representing a 40 percent increase over 2011, the 132 R&D projects in the 2012 update focus on the following diseases prioritized by the World Health Organization’s Special Programme for Research and Training in Tropical Diseases (TDR): tuberculosis, malaria, human African trypanosomiasis (sleeping sickness), leishmaniasis, dengue, onchocerciasis (River blindness), American trypanosomiasis (Chagas disease), schistosomiasis, leprosy and lymphatic filariasis.

The only major sector increasing R&D funding for neglected diseases in 2011 1 , the research-based pharmaceutical industry has a long-standing and continuing commitment to fighting these conditions. Industry’s holistic approach includes R&D projects, capacity- strengthening efforts, and medicine donations.

“We take a comprehensive approach to tacking neglected diseases,” says Eduardo Pisani, IFPMA Director General, “Donations of 14 billion treatments this decade address patients’ near-term needs while these 132 R&D programs will bring innovative vaccines and treatments to meet future needs and hopefully stop these dreaded diseases.”

Collaboration continues to be an integral aspect of the industry’s approach to these diseases. Of the 132 R&D projects listed in this status report, 112 (85%) are product development partnerships (PDPs) while the remaining 20 (15%) projects are company-only undertakings.

As part of the 2012 London Declaration 2 on Neglected Diseases, the research-based pharmaceutical industry pledged continued R&D and donations of 14 billion treatments by 2020 to control or eliminate nine neglected diseases.

Release of this annual status report comes as the World Health Organization releases a new report, Sustaining the drive to overcome the global impact of neglected tropical diseases, which cites increased donations as having sped WHO’s ability to deliver medicines to people suffering from neglected diseases.



IFPMA represents research-based pharmaceutical companies and associations across the globe. The research-based pharmaceutical industry's 2 million employees research, develop and provide medicines and vaccines that improve the life of patients worldwide. Based in Geneva, IFPMA has official relations with the United Nations and contributes industry expertise to help the global health community find solutions that improve global health.


Abigail Jones