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Patricia Van Arnum was executive editor of Pharmaceutical Technology.
Pharmaceutical companies pledge donations of 14 billion treatments for the next decade to combat nine neglected tropical diseases.
Neglected tropical diseases (NTDs) remain a key target in global-health initiatives and late last month, the International Federation of Manufacturers and Association (IFPMA), an organization representing the research-based pharmaceutical industry, outlined the industry’s plan for donations to combat nine NTDs. At least one billion people worldwide—one person in seven — suffer from NTDs, according to IFPMA.
Overall, the pharmaceutical has pledged 14 billion treatments between 2011 and 2020 to support the elimination or control of nine key NTDs (see Figure 1). These NTDs are human African trypanosomiasis, trachoma, fasciollasis, leprosy, schistosomiasis, onchoerclasis, soil-transmitted helminthiases, lyphmatic filariasis, and Chagas disease. The donations average1.4 billion treatments annually and build upon companies’ existing medicines donation programs. The pledge for donations comes in conjunction with an NTD collaboration comprised of pharmaceutical companies, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the governments of the United States and United Kingdom, international organizations, and endemic countries’ national governments.
Number of treatments pledged by pharmaceutical companies between 2011â2020 to treat nine neglected tropical diseases. m is millions.Source: International Federation of Pharmaceutical Manufacturers and Associations (IFPMA). Figure 1 is courtesy of IFPMA.
These donations follow a World Health Organization (WHO) announcement of new NTD targets to be achieved by 20201. WHO highlighted nine NTDs whose elimination or control is achievable with adequate supply and distribution of the relevant medicines. For maximum impact, these donations focus on those nine NTDs that represent more than 90% of the global NTD burden.
“For decades individual pharmaceutical companies have researched, developed, and donated medicines to fight disease and improve patients’ lives,” said IFPMA Director–General Eduardo Pisani, in a Jan. 30, 2012, IFPMA press release. ,“Today the research-based pharmaceutical industry jointly pledges a further 14 billion treatments to help end these debilitating diseases. This is our commitment as partners to help end NTDs and improve patient health.”
In addition to medicine donations, the research-based pharmaceutical industry supports the fight against NTDs with capacity-building efforts in developing countries and medical innovation, such as the R&D for new NTDs, and the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO)’s Re:Search initiative. WIPO Re:Search enables broad access to clinical-trial data, knowledge, expertise, compound libraries, and intellectual property assets with a view to encourage innovation for treating NTDs. The pharmaceutical industry was the second largest funder of R&D for neglected diseases in 2010, reaching more than $500 million, according to IFPMA.