Recently, Dr. Neeraj Mistry, Managing Director for the Global Network, joined the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA) for an online conversation about neglected tropical diseases (NTDs). He was joined by industry and NGO leaders in highlighting the importance of innovative partnerships and the vital role of pharmaceutical companies in fighting these diseases.
“Over the past year, we have seen some encouraging signs of progress from regional and national bodies in NTD-endemic regions,” Dr. Mistry said. “Thirty-six African nations have developed multi-year national plans to control and eliminate NTDs by 2020. Also, at WHO’s 63rd Regional Committee for Africa, countries adopted a regional strategic plan recommending increased access to treatments, resource mobilization, advocacy, and monitoring and evaluation, surveillance and research. In the past several months, the World Health Assembly, Organization of American States and African Union have all adopted resolutions against NTDs and strengthen efforts to integrate NTD programs into other health sectors.”
Through large-scale treatment donation, expanded research, increased information sharing and building cross-sector networks, the pharmaceutical industry has demonstrated a long-term commitment to combating NTDs. AbbVie, for example, is collaborating with foundations and academic institutions to provide a library of chemicals to screen against NTDs, while GlaxoSmithKline has partnered with Pfizer and CARE India to research ways to eliminate visceral leishmaniasis. And Merck now reaches more than 200 million people annually through its innovative, multi-sector Mectizan Donation Program, which focuses on combating onchocerciasis and has been expanded to include treatment for LF.
But the fight is not yet over, and the pharmaceutical industry is just one part of a diverse group of stakeholders – from NGOs and policymakers to industry and academic institutions – leading the charge against NTDs. “Funding is being mobilized, but more is needed. The capacity to deliver treatments in some countries needs strengthening. New diagnostics are needed to better understand when to start and stop treatments. For some diseases, new and better drugs or treatment strategies are needed to fill gaps where current therapies are limited or lacking. Endemic country governments need the political will and resources to address NTDs in their countries,” noted Brenda Colatrella, Merck’s Executive Director of Corporate Responsibility.
Through collaboration, innovation and sustained commitment, these partners can, and will, continue to make progress toward control and elimination of these diseases.
To read the entire conversation, click here.
Glaxo Smith Kline’s (GSK) CEO, Sir Andrew Witty, announces further collaboration between the pharmaceutical industry and the developing world. Glaxo Smith Kline is one of the worlds leading research-based pharmaceutical and healthcare companies. Headquartered in the U.K, they work on developing innovative medicines and products that help millions of people around the world.
According to Witty, there will be a new shift in the pharmaceutical industry, where in CEOs of major pharmaceutical companies will work together in order to help end the misery of NTDs in the developing world. He states that these companies can “still compete like crazy in other areas, but there are areas where [they] can work sensibly together and [ultimately] allow [for them] to be successful in areas which have historically been very difficult.”
This means that the pharmaceutical industry will take on a greater commitment to eliminate NTDs in the developing world. They will work on creating easier access to drugs that other pharmaceutical companies do not have, for victims of NTDs. In essence, the ultimate objective for the pharmaceutical industry is to “discover more, better drugs for the future… and collaborat[e] with others to make it happen quicker.”
Check out this article to read more about Sir Andrew Witty’s take on NTDs.
My Click here to read the full blogpost.
What do schistosomiasis, cysticercosis, and lymphatic filariasis have in common?
Besides verging on the unpronounceable, they are all classified as neglected tropical diseases (NTDs). NTDs are a set of diseases – seventeen, by the World Health Organization’s count – that collectively affect over a billion people, but have historically received little attention. The most common NTDs, including those listed above, are caused by parasitic worms or protozoa. Others, such as leprosy and trachoma, are the result of bacterial or viral infections.
Though caused by a range of pathogens, NTDs share some important characteristics. First, many are diseases of rural poverty. Most neglected diseases affect the poor in the developing world, particularly in Africa and Asia, but some have also been found in “pockets of poverty” in the United States. For instance, hundreds of thousands of Americans, most of whom are Hispanic immigrants, suffer from Chagas disease. Second, most NTDs cause bodily impairment and disability (i.e., they have high morbidity) but are not very lethal (i.e., they have low mortality).