[A2k] AFP: WHO seeks "complete control" of tropical diseases

thiru at keionline.org thiru at keionline.org
Mon Oct 18 05:54:50 PDT 2010


<SNIP>

Chan nonetheless highlighted recent signs of progress with efforts to  
tackle such diseases directly rather than waiting for them to  
disappear as countries develop and living conditions change.

"Substantial funds" were coming from private foundations and  
governments, while medical research has grown and pharmaceutical  
companies have made "generous drug donations" to treat some neglected  
tropical diseases.

<SNIP>

But the effort has been tainted by controversy after a draft of their  
report found its way to the pharmaceutical industry at the end of 2009  
before it was seen by the WHO's member states, forcing Chan to hold an  
internal inquiry.

<SNIP>

However, Brazil's ambassador Maria Nazareth Farani Azevedo signalled  
that donations were not enough, urging more work on a global strategy  
to finance research and development of medicines for diseases that  
affect poor countries.

"We would like to see this organisation more engaged in strategies to  
reduce the price of drugs," she added at the launch of the report.


WHO seeks "complete control" of tropical diseases

(AFP) ? 4 days ago

http://www.google.com/hostednews/afp/article/ALeqM5hygsP5aNlc0XUO1oZi1v5VtEXvjg?docId=CNG.c490a34eb4dcbad86bdef9d80c9704cf.631

GENEVA ? The World Health Organisation set itself a target on Thursday  
to tame tropical diseases that affect one billion impoverished people  
worldwide within the next next decade.

WHO Director General Margaret Chan called for action "on a grand  
scale" to combat 17 diseases that are largely neglected by drug makers.

In its first report on the 17 neglected tropical diseases, such as  
Dengue fever, leprosy, river blindness or bilharzia, the WHO said that  
534,000 people die every year often after receiving minimal care or  
treatment.

An estimated one billion of the 2.7 poorest people in 149 countries  
are affected by one or more of the diseases, sometimes by as many as  
five or seven of them simultaneously.

"While the scale of the need for prevention and treatment is huge, the  
poverty of those affected limits their access to interventions and the  
services needed to deliver them," Chan said in the report.

"Diseases linked to poverty likewise offer little incentive to  
industry to invest in developing new or better products for a market  
that cannot pay."

Speaking at the report's launch Chan said some of the diseases could  
be fully erased as early as 2015.

"If we keep doing the right things better, and on a larger scale, some  
of these diseases could be eliminated by 2015, and others by 2020,"  
she said.

The UN health agency underlined that such unrelenting and debilitating  
infections and parasitic diseases, which cause blindness, disability  
and deformities, do not kill in the same numbers as HIV/AIDS or  
tuberculosis and stay out of the limelight, with the exception of  
Dengue.

Chan nonetheless highlighted recent signs of progress with efforts to  
tackle such diseases directly rather than waiting for them to  
disappear as countries develop and living conditions change.

"Substantial funds" were coming from private foundations and  
governments, while medical research has grown and pharmaceutical  
companies have made "generous drug donations" to treat some neglected  
tropical diseases.

"Aiming at their complete control and even elimination is fully  
justified," said Chan.

The global health body spoke three years ago of an "unprecedented  
commitment" to eradicate the diseases, which are mainly present in  
Africa and Latin America, as well as parts of Asia.

A group of experts at the WHO have been studying new ways of financing  
a drive against neglected tropical diseases.

But the effort has been tainted by controversy after a draft of their  
report found its way to the pharmaceutical industry at the end of 2009  
before it was seen by the WHO's member states, forcing Chan to hold an  
internal inquiry.

The chief executive of Sanofi Aventis, Chris Viehbacher, said the  
pharmaceutical group would devote 25 million dollars to the WHO for  
neglected diseases in the form of medicines and cash for the WHO over  
five years.

"We are not forgetting neglected diseases. We are determined to work  
in a partnership," he said.

GlaxoSmithKline chief executive Andrew Witty said the pharma giant  
would give 400 million extra doses of medicine to treat elephantiasis  
from the beginning of 2012, raising the total to one billion a year.

However, Brazil's ambassador Maria Nazareth Farani Azevedo signalled  
that donations were not enough, urging more work on a global strategy  
to finance research and development of medicines for diseases that  
affect poor countries.

"We would like to see this organisation more engaged in strategies to  
reduce the price of drugs," she added at the launch of the report.





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