Nudging Big Pharma’s Tropical Neglect

Source: Science for Brazil

When will profits-hungry drug companies finally widen their attention from treating complex lifestyle-related diseases affecting citizens in wealthy countries, to the technically simpler task of curing infectious diseases threatening billions of poorer people in the developing world?

Never – if you believe the liberal media or some NGOs that regularly lambaste listed pharmaceutical companies for their focus on cancer, immune deficiency, neurodegenerative or cardiac diseases in markets where insurance markets underwrite the huge cost of patent-driven drug research.

By contrast a whole category of Neglected Tropical Diseases (NTDs) punches far below its weight in research terms, even though they affect 1.4 billion people worldwide. In fact, research by Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) has shown that although NTDs comprise 10 -12% of humanity’s global disease burden, over the last 40 years the percentage of medication used to tackle them has risen from 1% to 3.8% of all approved drugs