Japanese Drugmakers Addressing Neglected Tropical Diseases, and Not Just Out of Altruism
Wednesday, January 7, 2015
Japanese drugmakers are developing medicines to treat infectious diseases that have been overlooked because there is little financial incentive.
They can obtain government funding for the work, which is about more than just philanthropy.
The Ebola epidemic in West Africa killed more than 7,000 people last year. Ebola has no effective remedy, but it is not the only disease to blight developing countries.
For 17 infectious diseases designated by the World Health Organization as “neglected tropical diseases,” or NTDs, development of effective treatment had not even started. The diseases are usually debilitating, not fatal, and include infections by parasites, viruses and bacteria.
“As infected people cannot afford to buy drugs, it’s difficult to recover the costs of developing new drugs, estimated at ¥1 billion on average,” an official at a major drugmaker said.