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Broken System: The Research & Development Crisis
May 1, 2006
The R&D system is still not delivering on neglected diseases
The current medical research and development (R&D) system, which relies on patents to stimulate innovation, does not foster the necessary research to address the needs of billions of people in developing countries. This is because the R&D system provides greater rewards for developing drugs that sell well, rather than drugs that meet unaddressed health needs. Pharmaceutical companies therefore largely ignore the needs of patients in developing countries, while gearing their research towards wealthy markets. A new analysis by MSF shows that only one percent of the drugs reaching the market in the three decades between 1974 and 2004 address neglected diseases such as kala azar, sleeping sickness, or tuberculosis.
Governments Must Move Forward with Global R&D Framework at World Health Assembly
As health ministers met in Geneva at the World Health Assembly (WHA) in May 2006, Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) called on governments to overhaul the way medical research and development (R&D) is prioritized and financed, and support a resolution proposed by Kenya and Brazil for a "global framework on essential health R&D."
Why it's High Time to Change the Rules of the Game
The HIV/AIDS pandemic has vividly brought to the world's attention the fact that an increasing percentage of the world's population lives without access to essential medicines. The access crisis is twofold–on the one hand, crucially needed diagnostics, drugs, and vaccines that safely and efficiently respond to diseases affecting the world's poorest do not exist; and on the other, patients living in poverty cannot afford their own treatment, as those medicines that do exist are priced beyond their reach.
AIDS: Helping Develop a Quick and Easy Viral Load Test
Caring for children living with HIV/AIDS is charged with obstacles. The struggle begins with doctors not being able to tell whether antibodies found in a small baby's blood are from the mother or whether they suggest the child itself is infected with the virus. Frustrated with the situation, MSF has been cooperating with scientists working on a new technology. This is why MSF and the Diagnostics Development Unit at Cambridge University, UK, are entering into an agreement to develop a simple, cheap and rapid HIV viral load test for use in resource-poor settings.
"Fire in the Veins": Still Injecting Arsenic-derivatives to Treat African Sleeping Sickness