Press release from Business Wire India
Source: The George Institute for International Health
Tuesday, December 15, 2009 03:34 PM IST (10:04 AM GMT)
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India Emerges Among the Top 5 Government Funders of Neglected Diseases
$3billion Spent Globally on Neglected Disease R&D in 2008
New Delhi, Delhi, India, Tuesday, December 15, 2009 — (Business Wire India) — India along with Brazil are now in the Top 5 government funders of neglected disease R&D and are taking the lead on diseases like leprosy and dengue fever. An annual survey of investment into neglected disease R&D released today, shows that nearly US$3billion (US$2.96 bn) was spent on making new products for neglected diseases in 2008. A key finding of the G-FINDER survey was that, for some diseases, traditional donor funding is being replaced by investment from pharmaceutical companies and Innovative Developing Countries (IDCs) such as Brazil, India and South Africa. Where there is no profitable market, as with many of the diseases that affect sub Saharan Africa, R&D remains heavily reliant on traditional donor and philanthropic funding.
“These are tough economic times but, for the first time, we are seeing that for some neglected diseases the traditional reliance on charitable funding and donor aid is being replaced by a market and domestically driven R&D”, said report author, Dr Mary Moran of The George Institute for International Health. “This is good news for new medicines and diagnostics in India, Brazil and South Africa, but not for most of sub Saharan Africa where there is still no market and they will have to rely on donors and philanthropists for some time yet”, she added.
This trend reflects the growing research strength and pharmaceutical markets of India and Brazil, in particular, as well as high local incidence of diseases such as leprosy and dengue. The downside of this trend is that diseases of Africa continue to rely on donors, who still provide more than 85% of funds for Buruli ulcer, trachoma, kinetoplastid diseases like sleeping sickness and many helminth infections.
The G-FINDER report shows that in 2008 Innovative Developing Countries (IDC`s) like India, Brazil and South Africa and pharmaceutical companies funded:
— Nearly 60% of R&D for pneumonia and meningitis
— More than half (51%) of leprosy R&D (Brazil and India have the largest number of new leprosy cases per year in the world)
— Nearly half (46%) of R&D for new dengue products (the Americas, particularly Brazil, along with Asia, have the highest global prevalence of dengue)
— Around 20% of funding for new treatments and vaccines for diarrhoeal illnesses, TB and malaria (which occur worldwide)
“The G-Finder survey report has put India as the 5th largest public funder of neglected diseases, and ICMR provides 60% of the funds. Visceral leishmaniasis and leprosy are amongst most neglected diseases, and we must further improve our funding for research to find new tools to combat them”, said Dr V M Katoch, Secretary, Department of Health Research, and Director-General, Indian Council of Medical Research, New Delhi.
Other key findings were that global funding for neglected disease R&D ground to a standstill in 2008, with funding cuts or freezes across the board including a $26.3 million decrease in funding from High-Income Countries (HICs), a $0.1m decrease in multilateral funding, and a halving of investment by small companies (down by $23.8m). Multinational company funding held steady, while the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation increased its funding in 2008. This injection of additional funds led to a net increase of $100.1m (3.9%) in global neglected disease R&D investment in 2008.
The G-FINDER survey found that two organisations provided nearly 60% of global funding in this area in 2008: the US National Institutes of Health ($1.1bn, 36.5%) and the Gates Foundation ($617m, 20.9%). The US was by far the largest government funder, providing more than two-thirds of global public funding ($1.3bn, 67.2%), followed in distant second place by the European Commission ($129.9m, 6.9%). The UK was third ($103.3m, 5.5%), followed by Brazil ($36.8m, 2%) and India ($32.5m, 1.7%). Many wealthy governments provided little or no funding to support development of new products for neglected diseases.
“In these tough economic times, every contribution to neglected disease R&D is absolutely critical,” said Dr. Regina Rabinovich, Director, Infectious Disease Development at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. “We applaud the leadership role that governments are playing by supporting R&D for diseases endemic in their own countries, as well as the sustained investments from the private sector.”
The pharmaceutical industry was collectively the third largest global investor behind the NIH and Gates Foundation, with companies providing one-eighth ($365m, 12.4%) of global funding for neglected disease R&D. Over three-quarters (76.4%) of this came from multinational firms, and the remainder from small companies and biotechs.
“This G-Finder report confirms the welcome news that an increasing number of Pharma companies are allocating R+D resources to the neglected diseases surveyed. Although no major financial returns can be expected with medicines for many of these diseases in the foreseeable future, there is a growing sense of responsibility for underprivileged patients and reputational aspects,which are helping to improve the lives of patients”, said Prof Paul L Herrling, Head of Corporate Research for Novartis International
As in 2007, three diseases captured the lion’s share of funding, together accounting for nearly three-quarters (72.8%) of global investment: HIV/AIDS ($1,164.9m, 39.4%), malaria ($541.7m, 18.3%) and tuberculosis ($445.9m, 15.1%). Leprosy, rheumatic fever, trachoma and Buruli ulcer received less than $10m each (
The G-FINDER survey concludes that: “These (funding) contributions are a testament to the human bonds that link us together, even in straitened economic times. We again urge those wealthy countries who barely figure in this report to review their ability to join this fight for better health and greater health equity for all.”
The Gates Foundation provided funding for five annual G-FINDER surveys from 2008 to 2012. This report is the second annual survey. It covers pharmaceutical products for 31 neglected diseases of the developing world, providing this data as consistently and comprehensively as possible to help funders better understand where the gaps lie and how their investments fit into the global picture. G-FINDER researchers surveyed 208 organisations in 44 countries.
The results of the second G-FINDER survey are being discussed at a press briefing on Tuesday 15 December 2009, 11:00AM at The Royal Ballroom, the Imperial, Janpath, New Delhi.
The G-FINDER full report can be found here: www.thegeorgeinstitute.org
The George Institute for International Health is headquartered in Sydney, Australia, with operations in the UK, India and China. It has research, policy and training initiatives in over 40 countries, with the collaboration of more than 400 hospitals and universities. Ground-breaking research has been conducted into chronic diseases such as diabetes, heart and kidney disease as well as significant investigations in the areas of critical care, trauma, injury and neurological conditions. With a focus on developing countries, the Institute has led global clinical trials, including the largest ever conducted into Type 2 diabetes treatments. The Health Policy Division focusses on policy issues around development of new medicines and vaccines for neglected diseases of the developing world.
Samantha Bolton, UK/EU/US:, The George Institute for International Health, +44 79 724 28633, [email protected]
Emma Orpilla, Australia, The George Institute for International Health, +61410411983, [email protected]
Saurabh Gupta, Comma Consulting, +91 9818075578, [email protected]
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