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A top-level international commission set up by the World Health Organisation has called for an increase in the amount of money spent on research and development directed at the health priorities of the world’s poor.

Currently, only about 5 per cent of the US$60 billion per year spent globally on biomedical research is directed at diseases affecting the poorest 95 per cent of the world’s population.

An editorial in Nature argues that meeting the commission’s goals are essential if combating the disease burden of the great majority of the world is to be seriously addressed. It also says that publishers, like pharmaceutical companies, can do more than they already are to enhance access to the literature by researchers in the developing world.

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Reference: Nature 415, 1 (2002)

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