- International financial support aimed at counteracting the world’s “neglected diseases” increased by nearly a half-billion dollars over the past five years, according to new research released Monday, but changing funding dynamics could already be having a negative impact on the development of cures for diseases that affect a substantial proportion of the world’s poor.
More worrying, funding for research into these diseases remains highly dependent on a tiny number of players. This particularly includes the United States – both the public sector, in the form of the National Institutes of Health, and the philanthropic sector, in the form of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation – which continues to fund around 70 percent of investigations into these diseases.
The neglected diseases include a few dozen – leprosy, Guinea worm and other parasitic, viral and bacterial infections – that largely affect only poor communities in poor countries, and hence have traditionally received little attention from the entities that bankroll the extremely expensive process of drugs development.
While funding for these diseases had begun to pick up, the new Global Funding of Innovation for Neglected Diseases (G-FINDER) report finds that this assistance has decreased again following the international financial crisis.