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Study Finds Gaps Persist In Efforts To Prevent, Treat Neglected Diseases

“Despite much progress in the last 35 years, a new study, [conducted by the Drugs for Neglected Diseases Initiative, Doctors Without Borders, the WHO’s tropical disease research branch and others, and published last week in Lancet Global Health,] has found that major gaps persist in the effort to prevent and treat the ‘neglected diseases’ of the poor,” the New York Times reports. “The study, a survey of the 850 new drugs and vaccines approved in the last 12 years, found that only four percent were for the 49 diseases the authors consider neglected, including obscure worm and diarrheal diseases and well-known killers like malaria and tuberculosis,” the newspaper writes, adding, “Another four percent of newly approved products were for AIDS, which the authors do not consider neglected.” Noting the study “is a follow-up to a 2002 survey by the same group covering the years 1975 to 1999,” the New York Times writes, “While four percent may seem small, the earlier findings were far more bleak: only one percent of all pharmaceutical research focused on neglected diseases.” In addition, “[o]f the 150,000 trials registered as of December 2011, only one percent were for neglected diseases,” the newspaper states (McNeil, 10/28).