A report from the George Institute in Australia identifies that nearly $3 billion was spent last year in the search for new medicines in areas such as malaria, dengue and other “neglected diseases”.
An article in the Financial Times highlights that “drug companies are providing support, and the governments of two of the richer developing countries with many such illnesses – Brazil and India – are for the first time among the “top five” public sector funders, as they take growing responsibility for their domestic disease burden.
The bad news is that funding is stagnant and remains a tiny fraction of the efforts invested into other, richer world, diseases. But at least developing country governments and companies are increasingly taking up the slack. Over time, that may help them not only tackle problems at home but help develop local expertise in drug development that will challenge the dominance of western pharmaceutical companies in the future.”
An FT reader further commented that “It is encouraging that multinational pharmaceutical companies are continuing to invest significantly in research into neglected diseases.
Although the $280 millon spent in 2008 by multinational companies represents a very slight increase, it is an increase nonetheless. This, despite the impact that the severity of the economic downturn should have on such investments.
Also of note is the fact that 70 percent of the research by multinationals is focused on three diseases — malaria, TB and dengue. This may reflect a shift from a concentration on the disease of Africa to a broader focus on diseases of the developing world since these three disease are also endemic to Asia and South America.”