Neglect of Type III Diseases Continues

Sean Flynn
August 26, 2010

According to an analysis by KEI of FDA approved new molecular entities (NMEs)over the past 6 years, the research and devlopment divide for so-called neglected diseases is still starkly apparent.

Neglected diseases refer to conditions that primarily affect poor populations in poor countries. These diseases often account for a very high percentage of the world's avoidable deaths, but they attract little R&D funding because the populations, although large, are too poor to be considered viable markets. The Global Forum for Health Research reports: "In 1990, the Commission on Health Research for Development estimated that only about 5% of the world's resources for health research (which totaled US$ 30 billion in 1986) were being applied to the health problems of low- and middle-income countries, where 93% of the world's preventable deaths occurred." 

In an effort to help raise attention to the problem, the WHO classifies diseases as being Type I (predominantly in rich countries), Type II (predominantly poor, but some in rich, e.g. AIDS), and Type III (predominantly in poor, little or no in rich). 

KEI's study of 6 years of NMEs finds:

  • 139 Type I products approved,
  • 6 Type II products, and
  • no Type III products approved.

Photo of prescription medicines (cc) Fillmore Photography.



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