National Institutes of Health (NIH) Director Francis Collins on Tuesday announced the agency is moving forward on plans to create a new research center focused on translational science, after NIH’s advisory board voted to create the new center, Science’s “Science Insider” reports (Kaiser, 12/7).
Private Sector Involvement
India, EU Trade Agreement Will Not Restrict Ability For India Pharmaceutical Firms To Export Generic Drugs, Official Says
“India and the European Union (EU) have agreed that the comprehensive bilateral trade agreement being negotiated by the two will not result in an intellectual property regime that restricts the ability of Indian pharmaceutical firms to export generic or off-patent drugs by being far more stringent than the TRIPS [Trade-Related Aspects of International Property Rights] regime of the World Trade Organization,” LiveMint.com reports in an article that describes recent debates over the agreement. “The two sides agreed to this at a meeting between Indian trade minister Anand Sharma and his counterpart in the European Commission (EC), Karel De Gucht, at Brussels on 29 November, said a senior commerce ministry official on condition of anonymity,” the news service reports.
HP and the African social enterprise mPedigree on Monday announced a new service that will enable patients in Ghana and Nigeria to verify the authenticity of their medications, Fast Company reports. “Counterfeit drugs are estimated to be a $75-billion-per-year business, [and are] implicated in the deaths of something like 700,000 people around the world annually,” according to the article (Zax, 12/6).
The Financial Times contrasts the model of drug development for developing countries being used by non-profit groups like the Meningitis Vaccine Project (MVP), which recently rolled out the MenAfriVac, to that of some pharmaceutical companies.
Most Of World’s Poorest Still Live In Rural Areas, Despite Progress Over Last Decade, U.N. Report Says
A report from the U.N.’s International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) found that approximately 350 million people living in rural areas have escaped extreme poverty over the past decade, but most of the world’s poorest citizens continue to live in rural regions, the BBC reports (Melik, 12/6).
“Some 80 health professionals and telecom operators [met last week for the mHealth Africa Summit] in the Ghanaian capital Accra to explore ways to use mobile phones for better healthcare delivery,” IRIN reports in an article that details a variety of successful projects relaying health information through cell phones in Africa. The article describes how mobile phones are being used in Africa to educate populations about HIV/AIDS, TB and improve maternal health, as well as means to track medicines and other health supplies, including mosquito nets.
On Monday, a campaign started in Burkina Faso to “inoculate tens of millions of West Africans with a new vaccine in what scientists hope will be the beginning of the end of ravaging meningitis epidemics” across the continent, the New York Times reports. Burkina Faso marks the first country in a drive aimed at “bringing the disease under control and saving an estimated 150,000 lives by 2015 in a belt of 25 nations that girds the continent,” according to the newspaper (Dugger, 12/4).
Africa is capable of producing enough food to feed itself within a single generation, according a “study released to coincide with a meeting of several African leaders in Tanzania on Thursday, as well as U.N. talks on slowing climate change in Cancun, Mexico,” Reuters reports (Doyle, 12/2).
Ahead of World AIDS Day, the International Federation of the Red Cross on Friday released a report (.pdf) calling for governments around the world to do more to help stop the spread of HIV/AIDS among populations of injecting drug users (IDUs), the Associated Press reports (Heilprin, 11/25).
GAVI Says Pentavalent Vaccine Price To Fall, But $3.7B Still Needed To Vaccinate Children In Developing Countries
The average price of a vaccine that protects children against five diseases is expected to “drop to $2.58 next year compared to the current average price of $2.97,” the GAVI Alliance said Friday, Reuters reports. The group credits the expected price decline, which “represents a decrease of 30 percent over the last seven years,” in part to an “increased demand for the pentavalent, or five-in-one vaccine,” according to the news service (Kelland, 11/26).