Coherence for Health

Innovation for New Medicines for Infectious Diseases

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In developing countries, 6 out of 10 people die from infectious diseases. Nearly 1 billion humans suffer from a neglected infectious disease, according to the World Health Organisation. Yet less than 1% of the new drugs placed on the market from 1975 to the turn of the century were developed for these diseases. This book looks at ways of improving the availability of medicines for infectious diseases through strengthened coherence in health, trade, science and technology, development co-operation and finance.



Annex D

Improving the Access to Essential Medicines in Low-Income Countries

An estimated 10.8 million people died from infectious diseases in 2001. Of those deaths, 98.6% (10.6 million) occurred in the developing world, while only 1.4% (150 000) occurred in high-income countries (Jamison et al., 2006, Chapter 3). Around half of all deaths from infectious diseases occur in sub-Saharan Africa. Indeed, as seen in Table D.1, the top four killers in sub-Saharan Africa are infectious diseases, and the fifth is perinatal deaths, while in rich countries, the top five killers are non-communicable diseases. The vast majority of deaths from infectious diseases, maternal mortality, and perinatal deaths are preventable or controllable. The core problem is that existing, highly effective, and low-cost interventions to control these diseases simply do not reach the poor. The root cause of this massive failure is extreme poverty itself: health systems barely function in the rural areas of the poorest countries (Sachs and Sachs, 2007). Rich countries can afford to fight infectious diseases, while the poor cannot. Increased donor resources, directed at the poorest of the poor, could save millions of lives each year and would achieve vast economic benefits many times larger than the costs (CMH, 2001). 


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