Academic journal article The Journal of the Royal Society for the Promotion of Health

Initiative Appeals for Research on 'Neglected Diseases'

Academic journal article The Journal of the Royal Society for the Promotion of Health

Initiative Appeals for Research on 'Neglected Diseases'

Article excerpt

GLOBAL HEALTH

A coalition of research institutes is urging the World Health Assembly to set up an international fund for research into 'neglected diseases', which are estimated to claim the lives of 35,000 people daily around the world.

Delegates from the international Drugs for Neglected Diseases Initiative (DNDi) are lobbying for more research into diseases such as leishmaniasis, Chagas disease and sleeping sickness. The diseases affect millions of people around the world but apparently receive little attention from the pharmaceutical industry as there is little financial incentive to develop new drugs which patients and health systems in developing countries cannot afford.

The proposal, which was presented at the WHO's World Health Assembly at the end of May, urges the organisation's 192 member countries to commit more funds for research into new and more effective drugs, vaccines and diagnostic kits to treat these diseases. Paulo Buss, who presented the proposal, said: Only 10% of research investments go to the diseases that affect 90% of the world population.'

Concerns have also been raised over the safety and efficacy of some of the drugs currently being used to treat some of the neglected diseases. For example, of the drugs currently available to treat leishmaniasis, some are associated with severe reactions such as chemical pancreatitis and one has been shown to cause diabetes in more than 10% of cases when used at high dosage. …

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