British Medical Journal Examines Recent Progress In Treating Neglected Diseases

The British Medical Journal examines the outcome of the Drugs for Neglected Diseases initiative meeting held in Nairobi, Kenya, last week. More than 200 international health experts came together to discuss finding therapies for such diseases as visceral leishmaniasis, Chagas disease and sleeping sickness. “Current treatments are often toxic, prohibitively expensive, or difficult to administer in countries with limited resources,” and “[d]rug companies have little incentive to develop treatments for neglected diseases that mainly affect poor people,” the journal writes.

Developing countries have “the ability to provide new solutions for neglected diseases, but every day we face an uphill battle to find home grown capacity for research and development into diseases that affect our poor,” said Monique Wasunna of the Kenya Medical Research Institute, adding, “By working together in regional, needs-driven research platforms, we have been able to do more in the past five years than had been done in the previous 20 years.”

The article examines the recent progress in the area of neglected diseases research around the world, including new treatment options for disease and partnerships for drug discovery and development (Tanne, 6/29).

WHO Experts To Discuss Ways To Fund Neglected Disease Research, Drug Development


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explores ways to pay for research and clinical trials for treatments of neglected diseases, “even when the consumer demand is small and [the] constituents poor.” The topic will be front and center during a meeting of the Expert Working Group on Research and Development Financing, “which is seen by many governments and nongovernmental organisations as a key outcome of the WHO global strategy and plan of action on public health, innovation and intellectual property” (Mara, 6/29).