Union response to latest edition of the G-Finder report on R&D for neglected diseases

Policy Cures Research has released the 2018 G-Finder report analysing research and development funding trends for 33 neglected diseases, including tuberculosis (TB).  

Regarding TB research and development (R&D), key findings included: 

  • Global funding for basic research and product development for TB in 2017 was US$ 615 million. 
  • Almost half of all investment in TB R&D was for drugs ($286m, 46 percent), followed by basic research ($155m, 25 percent), preventive vaccines ($74m, 12 percent), diagnostics ($68m, 11 percent) and therapeutic vaccines ($4.8m, 0.8 percent). 
  • The only R&D funder from a low- or middle-income country in the top 12 funders was the Indian Center for Medical Research, which increased its investment by $6.0m (up 47 percent). 

In response, Dr Paula I Fujiwara, Scientific Director of The Union, made the following statement: 

“Increases in TB R&D funding are welcome and desperately needed. But we need to see much greater investment in TB R&D if we’re going to have a chance at ending the global TB epidemic. TB research is at a critical time with positive studies for a new vaccine and a number of new drug compounds showing promise. It is vital that these new tools are developed if the END TB goals are going to be met and that requires an increased investment now.  The fact that TB is still a neglected disease, with massive shortfalls in R&D investment, is serious cause for alarm considering TB is the world’s deadliest infectious disease. 

“The data on TB R&D presented in the G-Finder report are from 2017. In September 2018 the UN convened a High Level Meeting on tuberculosis, which produced the first UN political declaration on ending the TB epidemic. In that declaration, governments from around the world recognised the lack of sufficient and sustainable financing for TB R&D. In response, they committed to close the TB R&D funding gap by mobilising an additional US$ 1.3 billion for R&D annually, for a total annual investment of US$ 2 billion.

“As the political declaration also acknowledges, all countries have a responsibility to contribute to closing the TB R&D investment gap. If all governments invested just 0.1 percent of annual gross domestic expenditure on research and development (GERD) on TB research, we could close the funding gap and deliver the new tools we need to end the epidemic.”