Shortages of funds, equipment and infrastructure hamper health-related research and development in developing countries. As a result, middle- and low-income countries account for just four per cent of the US$105.9 billion spent each year on global health research.
In this article, Fiona Fleck reveals that despite the challenges, many developing countries have devised creative solutions for meeting public health needs. Brazil, Indonesia and South Africa have built up expertise in making generic copies of drugs developed by Western companies, while Cuba and Croatia have produced new drugs. India has done both.
Now, many developing countries are exploring their own traditional medicine and indigenous plants for new ways of tackling disease, while teaming up with pharmaceutical giants to forge public-private partnerships and supply their local research and development centres with staff.