Lancet, the prestigious medical journal, recently published a compilation of shocking statistics on the status of innovation to solve one of the world’s most intractable problems, neglected diseases that affect the poorest of the poor. It states that from 2000- 2011, only 4% (37 out of 850) of the new products and devices registered were for neglected diseases (NTDs).
Only 1% of new chemical entities were aimed at neglected diseases, namely malaria and diarrhea. The status of registered clinical trials for neglected diseases is no less dismal, with only 1% of registered clinical trials done for NTDs.
Clearly, much needs to be done. A lack of research and development compared to more first world problems (like diabetes or heart diseases) as well as a lack of financial incentive for the pharmaceutical industry have been blamed for this wide gap.