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A breakthrough in R&D for neglected diseases: new ways to get the drugs we need

This policy paper says government policies on the development of drugs for neglected tropical diseases, including malaria, are based on misconceptions and need revising. Widely held but outdated beliefs include the notion that neglected diseases offer little commercial incentive for large pharmaceutical companies. In addition, it says, there is the perception that public-private partnerships (PPP) — which bring researchers from industry and academia together in non-profit drug development ventures — are too inexperienced to inspire confidence. The reality in 2005, however, is quite different, says the paper. About ten new drugs for neglected diseases are expected within the next five years, mostly because of PPPs. These have included collaborations that aim to provide drugs to poor countries at not-for-profit prices. A full report by the paper's authors is on the Wellcome Trust's website.