Investment in Ebola masks decline in funding for research into neglected tropical diseases

adam Press Releases

International investment in Ebola-related research in 2014 was almost solely responsible for increases in R&D spending on neglected tropical diseases; while public funding for non-Ebola R&D has dropped mostly due to decline in US government funding, the EU continues to remain among the top three supporters of global health R&D.

Brussels, Dec. 3, 2015: A new report launched in Washington D.C. today reveals that investment in Ebola research has come at the expense of efforts to develop drugs, vaccines, and diagnostics for other neglected diseases. These diseases – including HIV/AIDS, TB and malaria – affect over one billion people around the world and are responsible for over 17,000 deaths every day in low-and middle-income countries.

 

Mobilisation for Ebola

 

The eighth annual G-FINDER report, released today, found that 3.4bn USD was invested in neglected disease R&D in 2014. It also found that new funding for Ebola R&D mobilised in response to the 2014 West African Ebola outbreak was entirely responsible for the 150m USD increase in neglected disease R&D funding in 2014. Funding for all other neglected diseases has plateaued with a slight decline of 14m USD.

 

Cecile Vernant, Head of EU Advocacy at DSW, said: “The Ebola crisis in 2014 and the insight given by the G-Finder report show what can be achieved in global health in response to a crisis. The investment in Ebola research was vital to the response to the outbreak, but as the G-Finder report today shows, this has come at the expense of funding for diseases that continue to kill millions of people every year. The challenge now is to not only make this commitment to R&D permanent, but to also widen the scope to other neglected diseases in the coming years.”

 

EU remains in top 3 spenders

 

The report found that the EU remained in the top three of public donors for neglected disease research, with the European Commission spending 126m USD in 2014. However, the trend in public investment remains negative, and excluding the investments in Ebola, public investment in neglected disease research is at its lowest since 2007 (when reporting started), falling by 62m USD overall to 2.165bn USD, much of which was due to decrease in US Government funding for diseases other than Ebola

 

Cecile Vernant said: “Renewed EU commitment to innovation for global health under Commissioner Carlos Moedas has been welcome, but the figures do not lie. If Europe is to take seriously its commitments to global health and to the Sustainable Development Goals targets to eliminate diseases of poverty by 2030, we need to accelerate our spending, and make sure that it is going where it should. Investment in global health innovation is a sound investment. It is highly cost-effective, plays into Europe’s strengths in research and innovation, and could be transformative for millions of people around the world.”

 

Report co-author Dr Nick Chapman, Director of Research at Policy Cures added: “The response to Ebola has shown us what is possible. There would be a huge impact if we could translate this political and financial commitment to other neglected diseases – many of which cause more deaths in low- and middle-income countries every year than Ebola, but received a fraction of the funding that Ebola did in 2014.”

 

G-FINDER: Global Funding of Innovation for Neglected Diseases. The full G-FINDER report can be found here:http://policycures.org/g-finder2015.html  

-ENDS-

Notes for the Editor:

DSW (Deutsche Stiftung Weltbevoelkerung) promotes universal access to sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR) in low- and middle-income countries. By undertaking SRHR advocacy, developing initiatives, and engaging in capacity development and family planning projects, we improve the health of women and girls living in poverty and empower the youth of today to lead healthy and self-determined lives.

ABOUT G-FINDER: G-FINDER, now in its eighth year, is the most comprehensive report to date on public and private funding into R&D for neglected diseases like malaria, TB, HIV, pneumonia, sleeping sickness and helminth infections. In response to the 2014 West African Ebola epidemic, the scope for this year’s survey was expanded to capture investments in Ebola R&D for the first time. The G-FINDER survey is conducted to help funders and product developers better understand where funding gaps lie and how their investments fit into the global picture. It covers 35 diseases and 142 product areas for these diseases, including drugs, vaccines, diagnostics, microbicides and vector control products, as well as basic research. The G-FINDER survey is conducted by the independent research group Policy Cures and funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. 198 organisations completed the survey in 2015, including all major public, private and philanthropic funders.

ABOUT POLICY CURES: Policy Cures is an independent not-for-profit group providing research, information, decision-making tools and strategic analysis for those involved in the creation of new pharmaceuticals for neglected diseases. Its focus is on providing governments, funders and civil society organisations with the information they need to make optimal R&D policy and funding decisions for diseases of the developing world.