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Spending on research on diseases of the poor, such as malaria, tuberculosis and dengue fever, has increased substantially over recent years, according to the annual report of the Global Forum for Health Research. Major donations from governments and charities pushed global health research funding to more than US$100 billion in 2001, up from US$30 billion in 1987. 

Developing countries are also spending more on health research. Brazil and Cuba now spend two per cent of their health budgets on research and India plans to do the same by 2010, according to the report.

The '10/90' gap — a term coined to express the fact that less than 10 per cent of health research funding is spent on diseases of the global poor that account for 90 per cent of the global health burden — may therefore be closing, according to the Global Forum's head, Stephen Matlin.

Link to full news story in the British Medical Journal

Reference: British Medical Journal 328, 1220 (2004)

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