In June 2005, for example, DNDi launched a global appeal supported by 19 Nobel Laureates to trigger off strategic mobilization about the need for government leadership in ensuring a sustainable commitment towards boosting essential health innovation.
More Sustainable Resources Needed
Despite the establishment of Product Development Partnerships like DNDi and new commitments from public and private donors, funding for scientific and medical innovation for diseases that disproportionately affect the developing world remains inadequate.
The R&D funding gap is particularly severe for the most neglected tropical diseases, which offer virtually no commercial market to product developers. Greater investment, complemented with innovative funding mechanisms and incentives, are needed from both governments and the private sector to ensure that these efforts are sustained and strengthened.
Today, global neglected disease R&D funding in 2009 totaled US$ 3.2 billion (including malaria, tuberculosis and HIV/AIDS). Of this amount, only US$ 162 million – about 5% – was spent on the kinetoplastid diseases (sleeping sickness, leishmaniasis, and Chagas disease), which are the focus of DNDi’s efforts.
Enabling R&D Environment
Public leadership is needed to implement policy changes that will support development of new, essential health tools, to ensure equitable access for affected populations; and to contribute to the development of innovative, needs-based measures such as intellectual property management policies to encourage needs-driven R&D, technology transfer, an enabling regulatory environment and strengthening of research capacities in developing countries.
DNDi and the George Institute launched in February 2010 a new report on the challenges of registering new drugs for neglected diseases in the African context. There is a need to think about new mechanisms and pathways to ensure the urgent approval of new drugs.
– Download the report here
– More information on this
Although a comprehensive, sustainable solution to the problem of neglected disease R&D has not yet emerged, governments, experts, and industry have proposed a number of new ideas, including both “push” mechanisms to finance R&D, and “pull” incentives to spur private sector investment.
In 2006, WHO has established an expert working group to examine current financing and coordination of R&D, as well as new proposals to stimulate innovation related to Type II (that occur in both rich and poor countries such as HIV/AIDS and tuberculosis) and Type III diseases (those overwhelmingly or exclusively occurring in the developing countries such as sleeping sickness and African river blindness).
All discussions on going are critical to moving forward and concrete actions must be taken if we are to bring new treatments to patients who desperately need them.