Process innovations by India's Biocon (Bangalore) helped reduce the cost of insulin in the Indian market by over 40%.
Brazil's Katal Biotecnolgica, based in Belo Horizonte, and Labtest Diagnstica, of Lagoa Santa, produce diagnostic kits suitable for small laboratories and rural settings in Brazil, a market usually neglected by large companies.
Earlier MRC research documented 78 companies in China, India, Brazil and South Africa that have marketed 69 drugs, diagnostics, and vaccines with an additional 54 in the pipeline for HIV, TB, malaria, and neglected tropical diseases.
Roughly 1 billion people worldwide are killed or sickened by "neglected tropical diseases" (NTDs). More than 30 such diseases, caused by worms, protozoa, bacteria, fungi or viruses, afflict the poorest people in the poorest countries.
"Developing country companies are innovating close to the 'coalface' of global health problems, making appropriateness, translation, uptake and affordability of the resulting solutions more likely." says Dr. Peter Singer, Director of the McLaughlin-Rotman Centre for Global Health.
But, as these firms rise in financial strength and expertise, with growing links to large multi-national biotech firms, concerns are rising in tandem that local health priorities will take second place to the pursuit of products for more lucrative market segments -- both in the North and at home.
"These trends may, over time, shift the focus of domestic health biotech sectors in emerging economies towards the needs of more lucrative global markets and reflect the priorities of pharmaceutical multi-national corporations," the authors warn.
"As enterprises in the emerging markets take on more costly innovative projects, would they be compelled to choose between global health and global wealth?"
The authors say developing cou
|Contact: Terry Collins|
McLaughlin-Rotman Centre for Global Health