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Table 5 Analysis of trends, drug research and development for tropical diseases, MSF (2002)

From: The role of NGOs in global health research for development

The extensive review revealed that of 1393 new chemical entities marketed between 1975 and 1999, only 16 were for tropical diseases and tuberculosis. All new drugs for neglected diseases represented a clear therapeutic benefit, and all are included in the WHO Essential Drug List, which indicates the importance of new drugs for neglected diseases. In contrast, over the same period, two out of three new drugs offered little advantage over existing ones. There was no indication that drug development for neglected diseases would significantly improve in the near future, however. Private-public partnerships, or else, incentives to encourage private investment towards the development of new cost-effective drugs may help overcome this limitation. For the most neglected tropical diseases which may not account for a large share of the global burden of disease, a new approach is needed. The feasibility of an international not-for-profit network that would focus on the most neglected diseases is being tested in the on-going pilot projects.