Sanofi launches large-scale production of artemisinin for malaria

On April 11, the pharmaceutical company Sanofi will launch the large-scale production of a partially synthetic version of artemisinin, a chemical critical to making today's front-line antimalaria drug, based on Keasling's discovery. The drug is the first triumph of the nascent field of synthetic biology and will be, Keasling hopes, a lifesaver for the hundreds of millions of people in developing countries who each year contract malaria and more than 650,000, most of them children, who die of the disease.

Neglected Tropical Diseases - live Q&A with Eduardo Pisani

On May 7, 2013 at 9am EST (3pm CET), Global Health Progress will host a live Q&A focused on neglected tropical diseases with Eduardo Pisani, Director General of the International Federation of Pharmaceutical Manufacturers & Associations (IFPMA). We encourage those interested to submit questions in advance (send a message to @GlobalHealth using #NTDsQA or comment on the FaceBook post).

Research-based pharmaceutical industry and International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies join forces to prevent non-communicable diseases

The International Federation of Pharmaceutical Manufacturers & Associations (IFPMA) and the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) announced today a partnership on NCD prevention. The two-year partnership involves support from both organizations to design a behavioral change-based toolkit that promotes healthy lifestyle choices at national and community levels. Through its volunteer network and community-based expertise, the IFRC will make the toolkit available to approximately 3 million people worldwide.

Africa: Saving Mothers - a New Initiative to Address Maternal Mortality

Pregnancy-related deaths remain an acute problem in many places, despite overall global declines in rates of maternal mortality. Every day, nearly 800 women die from complications in pregnancy or childbirth, and 99 percent of these deaths occur in developing countries. Saving Mothers, Giving Life (SMGL) is a public-private partnership designed to reduce maternal mortality by up to 50 percent in selected districts in Zambia and Uganda this year. SMGL builds on U.S. investments through the President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR), the U.S. Agency for International Development, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Peace Corps, and the Department of Defense. The other SMGL partners include the governments of Norway, Zambia, and Uganda, the Merck for Mothers program, the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, and Every Mother Counts.

With river blindness, 'you never sleep'

About 18 million people have river blindness worldwide, according to the World Health Organization, but more than 99% of cases of this disease are found in Africa. It goes by the technical name "onchocerciasis," and it spreads through small black flies that breed in fast-flowing, highly oxygenated waters. When an infected fly bites a person, it drops worm larvae in the skin, which can then grow and reproduce in the body.
There is no vaccine for river blindness, but there is a drug, called ivermectin that paralyzes and kills the offspring of adult worms, according to the Mayo Clinic. It may also slow the reproduction of adult female worms, so there are fewer of them in the skin, blood and eyes. The pharmaceutical company Merck has been donating the treatment, under the brand name Mectizan, since 1985.

New findings offer systemic solutions to address non-communicable diseases (NCDs) in low- and middle-income countries

Today the Johns Hopkins University’s Institute for Applied Economics, Global Health and the Study of Business Enterprise released a focused set of policy briefs that provide actionable recommendations for improving NCD policy, research and, ultimately, care. The study was commissioned by the International Federation of Pharmaceutical Manufacturers & Associations (IFPMA).

Consultative expert working group on research and development: financing and coordination

IFPMA commends the CEWG for the comprehensive and important work they have conducted. The report recognizes the need to stimulate R&D into type II and III diseases where funding is underserved. Additionally, it identifies the relevance of coordination and provides a basis for discussion on increased financing into these disease areas. We congratulate the CEWG for their vision and welcome their conclusion that new models would be supplementary instruments to address challenges that cannot be fully tackled trough the current innovation paradigm.

Rotary International and PhRMA team up for “The World's Biggest Commercial”

Rotary International's innovative campaign to develop the World's Biggest Commercial to raise public awareness about polio eradication has struck a chord with the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA).
To help spur participation in the commercial, the largest pharmaceutical trade group in the United States has donated $50,000 to Rotary's PolioPlus program – enough to provide oral vaccine to protect more than 83,000 children against this paralyzing disease.

Pharmaceutical R&D projects to discover cures for patients with neglected conditions

IFPMA recently released its 2012 status report on pharmaceutical R&D to address neglected diseases, highlighting a 40% increase from 2011 in research projects focused on NTDs. As part of the 2012 London Declaration on Neglected Diseases, the research-based pharmaceutical industry pledged continued R&D and donations of 14 billion treatments by 2020 to control or eliminate nine neglected diseases.

India & clinical trials: PhRMA weighs in

Globally, over the past several decades, medical innovation has cut the death rate from cardiovascular disease in half. Medical research and innovation has turned diseases like AIDS and many cancers into manageable conditions. Medical innovation has also reduced the social and economic burden of disease. Innovation has played a major role in increasing life expectancy and has enabled healthy aging for much of the world’s population.