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Better Coordination, Incentive Needed For WHO Framework On Neglected Disease R&D

Nature: WHO: Steering plans for neglected diseases
Bernard Pécoul of the Drugs for Neglected Diseases initiative, and Manica Balasegaram of Médecins Sans Frontières

In an earlier Nature opinion piece, “Mary Moran criticizes plans by the World Health Organization (WHO) for tackling neglected diseases in the developing world. Her arguments are misleading and trivialize global efforts to fix the research and development (R&D) system that is failing to address the health needs of people in these countries. After 10 years’ effort by WHO member states, the WHO Consultative Expert Working Group on R&D Financing and Coordination has proposed a framework to tackle these R&D shortcomings. … Moran contends that the current drug pipeline for neglected diseases is ‘successful.’ In the past 10 years, however, only four percent of all new drugs and vaccines and one percent of all new chemical entities were for neglected diseases — and none was suitable for the 17 neglected tropical diseases. Increased funding and better coordination will help, but what is really needed is a greater global incentive for needs-driven R&D…” (3/26).