"International financial support aimed at counteracting the world's 'neglected diseases' increased by nearly a half-billion dollars over the past five years, according to new research released Monday, but changing funding dynamics could already be having a negative impact on the development of cures for diseases that affect a substantial proportion of the world's poor," Inter Press Service reports. "While funding for these diseases had begun to pick up, the new Global Funding of Innovation for Neglected Diseases (G-FINDER) report [.pdf] finds that this assistance has decreased again following the international financial crisis," the news service writes, adding, "More worrying, funding for research into these diseases remains highly dependent on a tiny number of players," including the U.S. (Biron, 12/3).
In addition, the report finds "a recent trend of higher industry funding for commercially viable diseases may lead to a two-tier, two-speed system, in which products for some diseases get left behind, according to Mary Moran, director of the Policy Cures think-tank and the report's lead author," SciDev.Net writes. "She presented findings showing that, while up to 70 percent of global [research and development (R&D)] funding for 'semi-commercial' diseases such as dengue and tuberculosis goes towards product development, only 45 percent of such funding for diseases reliant on public funding goes on product development" (Tatalovic/Rinaldi, 12/3). Manica Balasegaram, executive director of the Medecins Sans Frontieres Access Campaign, said in a statement, "The G-FINDER survey clearly shows that steady funding for neglected diseases is vulnerable, making it essential that we agree to ways of promoting (research and development) through predictable, sustainable funding solutions," according to IPS. The news service notes the WHO has made "little movement" on a potential treaty on R&D (12/3).
This article was reprinted from kaiserhealthnews.org with permission from the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation. Kaiser Health News, an editorially independent news service, is a program of the Kaiser Family Foundation, a nonpartisan health care policy research organization unaffiliated with Kaiser Permanente.