The need for new pharmaceutical tools to prevent and treat neglected diseases is widely accepted. The creation of a vaccine for HIV/AIDS, more...
The need for new pharmaceutical tools to prevent and treat neglected diseases is widely accepted. The creation of a vaccine for HIV/AIDS, more effective diagnostics for tuberculosis (TB), and better treatments for leishmaniasis and sleeping sickness would greatly improve health in the developing world in line with the United Nations Millennium Development Goals. However, funders wishing to invest in this vitally important area currently face an information gap.
There is little consensus on what constitutes a neglected disease or what new products are required. Health research funding figures have been published by the Council on Health Research for Development and the Global Forum for Health Research, but these do not disaggregate product-related research and development (R&D) or neglected disease investments.
Specific R&D investment data are available for some neglected diseases—including annual surveys of HIV/AIDS and TB funding since 2000 and 2005, respectively, and a one-off survey of malaria R&D funding published in 2005—but these cannot readily be compared since each survey uses different methodologies and covers different diseases, products, donors, and countries. For most neglected diseases, there is simply no information.
In order to address these information deficits, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation commissioned the George Institute for International Health to conduct five sequential annual surveys of global investment into R&D of new pharmaceutical products to prevent, manage, or cure diseases of the developing world. This article summarises key data from the first G-FINDER report (http://www.thegeorgeinstitute.org/prpppubs).