New historic agreement to fight neglected tropical diseases

The Australian medicines industry endorses a historic global initiative to tackle 10 neglected tropical diseases, Medicines Australia chief executive Dr Brendan Shaw said today.

The initiative, announced this week, brings together 13 medicines manufacturers, the United States, United Kingdom and UAE governments as well as the World Bank and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.

The initiative will expand existing medicine donation programs to meet demand through to 2020 and accelerate R&D of new medicines.

Dr Shaw said the campaign will improve the lives of 1.4 billion people.

“This is a concerted drive to eliminate or control some of the most terrible diseases afflicting the developing world, and the medicines industry is central to that effort,” Dr Shaw said.

“The medicines industry will donate an average of 1.4 billion treatments a year to those who need them.

“Internationally the medicines industry is already increasing its research effort into neglected tropical diseases at a faster rate than contributions from other sectors like governments and not-for-profit groups.

“I’m very encouraged that the role of the global industry in tackling neglected tropical diseases is being acknowledged by organisations such as the Gates Foundation and the World Health Organisation.”

This latest announcement follows other recent collaborative initiatives to further enhance access to treatments for these diseases for people in the poorest developing countries.

“It is yet another example of companies in the medicines industry partnering collaboratively with public and private sector players to develop constructive solutions to the world’s health problems,” Dr Shaw said.

Speaking on behalf of the global medicines industry, Sir Andrew Witty, chief executive of GlaxoSmithKline, said: “Many companies and organisations have worked for decades to fight these horrific diseases. But no one company or organisation can do it alone. Today we pledge to work hand-in-hand to revolutionize the way we fight these diseases now and in the future.”

Sir Andrew will be the keynote speaker at the Medicines Australia Parliamentary dinner on 29 February.


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