Neglected Diseases Targeted by Pharmaceutical Giants
Ten neglected diseases will be wiped out by 2020 if a new partnership of pharmaceutical companies, national governments and global health organizations is successful. According to Reuters, the groups will combine to donate drugs and scientific expertise to combat tropical diseases that receive little attention in the Western world.
The partnership will donate 14 billion doses of medicine by the end of the decade to treat diseases like Guinea worm disease, leprosy and sleeping sickness. For those diseases that are still without treatment, pharmaceutical companies will collaborate and share drug discovery work.
Reuters noted that pharmaceutical companies have been the targets of criticism in the past because of their perceived lack of effort to fight conditions found in poor countries. Now, drug manufacturers are seeing the economic potential of these new treatments and have pledged more than $758 million total to support research for neglected tropical diseases.
The World Health Organization, which was key in orchestrating the partnership, announced the deal in London and touted its progress.
“These ancient diseases are now being brought to their knees with stunning speed,” said director general Margaret Chan. “With the boost to this momentum being made today, I am confident almost all of these diseases can be eliminated or controlled by the end of the decade.”
Neglected diseases affect more than a billion people worldwide, primarily in poor countries. Five hundred million of these cases are in children, Reuters said.