Neglected Diseases – How Should We Pay for R&D?

from the Wall Street Journal’s Health blog:

It’s no secret that only a fraction of the money spent on biomedical research goes toward developing vaccines and drugs for malaria, tuberculosis and other diseases that afflict people primarily in poor countries. There’s little incentive to invest in medicines for which few can pay – even if those diseases are some of the world’s biggest killers.

What to do about that is less clear.

Last week, the World Health Assembly – the decision-making body of the World Health Organization – debated whether to obligate every country to donate at least .01% of its gross domestic product to R&D to combat these so-called neglected diseases.

But the U.S., European Union and Japan opposed the idea. Instead, the assembly agreed to continue discussions and bring forth proposals next year.

Some health advocates expressed dismay. Humanitarian aid organization Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières accused the U.S. and the other countries of “trying to “block progress.”

“We’re disappointed,” said Judit Rius Sanjuan, U.S. manager of the organization’s Access Campaign to make medicines more available in developing countries. “We have been waiting more than 10 years.”

Read the complete post here.


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