Bulletin of the World Health Organization
Volume 97, Number 8, August 2019, 513-580
Biomedical research; what gets funded where?
— Taghreed Adam, Ambinintsoa H Ralaidovy & Soumya Swaminathan
…In July 2019, the observatory published for the first time a comprehensive overview of health products for all indications (medicines, vaccines and diagnostics that include an active pharmaceutical ingredient), from discovery to market launch, using the AdisInsight database.3,4 The analysis of more than 86,000 products developed since 1995 shows that of the 14.999 products that are currently in a clinical phase of development, 87% (13,004) are for noncommunicable diseases and 9% (1319) for communicable, maternal, perinatal and nutritional conditions. Around 48% (6221) of products for noncommunicable diseases are for malignant neoplasms and around 80% (1047) of products for communicable, maternal, perinatal and nutritional conditions are for infectious and parasitic diseases.4 Less than 0.5% of active products (168 out of 35,770) target a disease on the WHO list of neglected tropical diseases, and around 0.4% (152) of active products are targeting a pathogen on the WHO list of research and development blueprint priority pathogens.5,6
These findings and other recent analysis of the observatory’s data show little indication that decisions on new investments on health research and development are evidence-informed or prioritized, or that they reflect the public health needs of people living in low- and middle-income countries…