New solutions for research and development (R&D) are needed that could make affordable drugs available to the South.
Photo: DFID


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Developing new drugs only makes sense for pharmaceutical corporations if they can later on recapture the high development costs via sales. This is one of the reasons why there is still a large imbalance between the availability of drugs for classical “industrialised country diseases” and those for diseases that affect poor people to a large degree. How can this be changed?

The term Poverty-related and Neglected Diseases (PRND) refers to illnesses that above all have a severe impact in developing countries and for which there is often a lack of drugs to treat them. For example, the deadly effect of the Ebola virus has been known since 1976. But it was only the outbreak three years ago, which resulted in more than 11,000 deaths in West Africa, that led to progress in the search for medical solutions. The vaccine developed towards the end of the epidemic is still undergoing tests. Just now, new Ebola fever fatalities have been reported from the Democratic Republic of Congo.

Numerous other diseases, such as tuberculosis, malaria, African sleeping sickness or onchocerciasis count among Poverty-related and Neglected Diseases (PRND). A local lack of drugs may be due to high prices that the population cannot afford. But the main reason is not enough research world-wide because selling such drugs is simply not profitable.

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