UN urges governments to increase funding in medical research and development

UN urges governments to increase funding in medical research and development

A recent report published by Doctors Without Borders titled ‘Lives on the edge’ analyses the failure of the current R&D system and goes on to outline new ways of developing tools to better address the medical needs of people at affordable prices. World governments have been urged to be proactive in the development of desperately needed new medicines, vaccines and diagnostics at affordable prices.

Doctors Without Borders is an independent international medical humanitarian organisation working to bring emergency medical care to people caught in conflict, crises, and disasters in more than 65 countries world over.

“People in poor and wealthy countries are now finding that the medicines they need either don’t exist or are priced so high that they can’t afford them, and governments need to solve these problems,” says an official of Doctors Without Borders in the report.

The report goes on to say pharmaceutical corporations woefully under-invest in research for diseases that aren’t lucrative, while governments have failed to ensure that taxpayer-funded research addresses priority health needs.

One example of this world wide crisis is in Zimbabwe, where their pharmaceutical sector is only producing eight percent of the country’s drugs, a startling indication that the country’s pharmaceutical industry is in crisis, a situation that puts their citizens under threat. Health is a sensitive topic all over the world, but for countries like Zimbabwe it is important to be able to produce the medicines necessary to provide for its people.

Most drug manufacturers in the country have closed shop because of the macro-economic environment, and the few that are left face stiff competition from cheap imports. Some of the companies that are either facing viability challenges or have closed shop include CAPS Holdings, MedTech Holdings, Wallace Laboratories, Lancaster Industries, and Reckitt and Benckiser.

The government however insists it is committed to promoting and encouraging the most cost effective local production of safe, high quality and effective drugs.