Magazine article European Social Policy

Health : Tropical Disease Research Requires Increased Funding

Magazine article European Social Policy

Health : Tropical Disease Research Requires Increased Funding

Article excerpt

On the occasion of a conference at the European Commission, on 12-13 November, on HIV-AIDS, malaria and tuberculosis (TB), Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF) launched a report calling for more research funding from the Commission for vaccines, diagnostics and treatments of tuberculosis, malaria and other neglected tropical diseases. According to the associations Treatment Action Group and Roll Back Malaria, 1.45 billion should be spent on TB research and 647 million Euros on malaria.

As the Commission contributes a quarter of the EU's financing on TB, its fair' contribution should be 101 million a year for TB research, as opposed to the 18.7 million spent in 2007, 17.1 million for malaria and no funding for neglected tropical diseases.

The report argues that although the Commission and the member states have committed themselves to finding alternatives to patent-based funding mechanisms by adopting the global strategy and plan of action on public health, innovation and intellectual property, at the World Health Organisation in May 2008, the Commission has neglected non-profit partnerships and prize funds.

The report also asks the Commission to earmark research funding for these diseases as they are currently competing against each other and to facilitate access to research generated by public funding to prevent monopoly rights on these results in developing countries.

Asked about the MSF report at the conference, the EU's Commissioner for Science and Research, Janez Potocnik, welcomed the organisation's criticisms but added critics are focusing too much on the European Commission, which represents only 5% of public funding. …

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