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.

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.

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.

Trade between China and Africa has been one of the dominant issues on the table this decade. Many high-level meetings have been conducted seeking to liberalize movement of goods in these regions. The talks formed part of the wider plan for the realization of South-South trade. But underneath this "barrierless" trade regime lurks some danger: fake goods. The majority of counterfeited products entering Africa are drugs. According to the World Health Organization, around 10 percent of drug supplies in developing countries are counterfeit medicines. These have caused thousands of deaths annually.

According to the World Malaria report 2012, 50 countries around the world are on track to reduce their malaria case incidence rates by 75% by 2015 – in line with World Health Assembly and Roll Back Malaria targets. However, these 50 countries only represent 3%, or 7 million, of the malaria cases that were estimated to have occurred in 2000, the benchmark against which progress is measured.

Geneva, 11 December 2012 - A study released today highlights opportunities for a better coordinated international response to the threat of falsified, or counterfeit, medicines. The prevention of pharmaceutical falsification should be seen as an integral part of the global health community’s effort to improve access to effective, good quality medicines and protect public health worldwide.

The recently released fifth G-FINDER survey reports on 2011 global investment into research and development of new products for neglected diseases, and identifies trends and patterns across the five years of global G-FINDER data. In 2011, reported funding for neglected disease R&D was $3.05 billion. Both public and philanthropic funding have dropped away since the global financial crisis, but industry funding has increased dramatically over the survey period, predominantly due to increased investments from multinational pharmaceutical companies (MNCs).

The latest Access to Medicine Index, which ranks the top 20 pharmaceutical companies on their efforts to improve access to medicine in developing countries, finds that the industry is doing more than it was two years ago, with GlaxoSmithKline still outperforming its peers, but an expanding group of leaders closing the gap. Companies are developing more products for more diseases that particularly affect the world’s poor, and collaborating more in the process than they were two years ago. In addition, more companies are using tiered pricing schemes to lower prices for certain countries or population groups within a country, and applying them to a broader range of products and in more countries.

Twenty-five years ago last month, something big started, a collaborative venture that changed the lives of hundreds of millions of people. In October 1987, Roy Vagelos, then the chief executive of Merck, launched the largest pharmaco-philanthropic venture ever. He approached me, as the head of the Task Force for Child Survival in Atlanta, and offered the drug — now copyrighted as Mectizan — for free if the task force could devise a distribution system.
The original target of treating 6 million people in six years was achieved in four years. Only 15 years after the program started, 250 million treatments had been given. Last year, the Mectizan Donation Program provided 140 million treatments for onchocerciasis in Africa, Latin America and Yemen. A ­quarter-century after the program began, 1 billion treatments have been provided free by ­Merck.

Wellcome Trust to fund three-year study in Texas to look for new biological markers measuring treatment efficacy for the leading parasitic killer of the Americas. Chagas disease infects approximately 8 million people worldwide and is the leading parasitic killer in the Americas, where it causes more deaths than malaria.

Pages