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Millions of patients still waiting for medical 'breakthroughs' against neglected diseases
Date:12/13/2012

New York, NY, December 13, 2012 Despite important progress in research and development (R&D) for global health over the past decade, only a small fraction of new medicines developed between 2000 and 2011 were for the treatment of neglected diseases, highlighting the 'fatal imbalance' between global disease burden and drug development for some of the world most devastating illnesses, said Doctors Without Borders/Mdecins Sans Frontires (MSF) and the Drugs for Neglected Diseases initiative (DNDi), in an analysis to be presented today at an international conference aimed at spurring medical innovations for these diseases.

DNDi and MSF found that between 2000 and 2011, 3.8 percent of newly approved drugs (excluding vaccines) were for tropical diseases, TB, and other neglected infections, which together account for 10.5 percent of the global disease burden. Much of the progress in the treatment of neglected diseases and important patient benefit during this time came about through drug reformulations and repurposing of existing drugs against these illnesses. However, only four of the 336 brand-new medicines (new chemical entities) developed between 2000 and 2011 were for the treatment of neglected diseases.

"We have to ask ourselves, how much progress have we really made over the past decade?" said Dr. Unni Karunakara, MSF International President. "People are still dying of archaic diseases. Doctors and nurses are still handcuffed by the shortcomings of available medicines, forced to treat their patients with decades-old, often brutal drugs. As we speak, there are drug-resistant TB patients enduring two years on an absolutely horrific course of treatmentdebilitating nausea and pain, depression, social isolation, hearing loss, and even psychosis, are just some of the few side effects they can have while on these medicines. Our patients are still waiting for real scientific breakthroughs."

The two-day conference, Lives in the Balance: De
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Contact: Oliver Yun
oyun@dndi.org
646-266-5216
Drugs for Neglected Diseases Initiative
Source:Eurekalert

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