Tag Archives: Global-Health-Progress

Global Health Progress Releases Non-Communicable Diseases Partnerships and Programs List

Global Health Progress compiled a list of non-communicable disease treatment programs from around the world, highlighting partnerships to address cancer treatment, diabetes care, epilepsy programs and more. The programs, sponsored by leading companies like Astra Zeneca, Abbott, Novo Nordisk, and Bayer Healthcare, aim to increase awareness of non-communicable diseases in the developing world.

“Our goal in creating this list is to bring awareness to these companies who work so hard at fighting diseases in developing countries,” explains Mark Grayson, Vice President of Communications and Public Affairs at PhRMA and key developer in the Global Health Progress initiative. “Non-communicable diseases are the leading killer in many of these countries, and without the help of these programs they would continue to increase.”

Global Health Progress works with partner groups to encourage and sustain funding for the research and development of healthcare in developing nations. Improving health care systems and access to medicines, especially in the developing world, requires multifaceted approaches and solutions. Research-based biopharmaceutical companies are active partners in some of the largest and boldest health initiatives that explore new and effective ways to provide treatment, care and education to millions of people in developing countries.

Read the full list of non-communicable disease treatment programs here:
http://globalhealthprogress.org/mediacenter/wp-content/uploads/NCD-Health-Partnerships-and-Programs_Worldwide-05-02-11.pdf.

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Medical Innovation Protection Stressed in EU-India Free Trade Agreement Talks

The Financial Express published an article on the Free Trade Agreement (FTA) talks that continue between the European Union (EU) and India. One of the most discussed and disagreed upon parts of the proposed FTA involves the need for protecting the intellectual property of pharmaceutical companies in order to promote medical innovation and investment in the development of new medicines and research. This disagreement about whether data exclusivity in the pharmaceutical sector should be included has resulted in the delay of finalizing the FTA.

Pharmaceutical companies rely on data exclusivity to protect the investment made in developing the medication that is used throughout the world. Millions of dollars are spent on clinical trials to prove the safety and effectiveness of these drugs. These exclusive rights prevent competitors from obtaining marketing licenses for lower cost versions of these drugs.

Global Health Progress (GHP) is committed to being part of the effort to create a sustainable health care system that includes improving access to health care and continuing medical innovation and progress for all people. While the pharma industry is divided on the issue, GHP supports efforts to improve regulations protecting pharmaceutical companies’ intellectual property. Without this protection, the funding of studies that bring these medications to market could suffer.

Improving health care systems and access to medicines, especially in the developing world, requires multifaceted approaches and solutions. Research-based biopharmaceutical companies are active partners in some of the largest and boldest health initiatives that explore new and effective ways to provide treatment, care and education to millions of people in developing countries.

About Global Health Progress:
Global Health Progress also supports efforts to raise awareness and mobilize resources to address health challenges in the developing world by bringing local leaders together with international health experts, policymakers, donor governments, and the private sector.

www.globalhealthprogress.org;

twitter.com/globalhealth;

facebook.com/pages/Global-Health-Progress/124850684219049;

linkedin.com/groups?home=&gid=2972068

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Global Health Progress Amplifies Report Calling for Funding Products to Fight Neglected Tropical Diseases

The third-annual Global Funding of Innovation for Neglected Diseases (G-FINDER) survey was released last week revealing both good and bad news for the funding of neglected diseases in the developing world. In a press release issued by Policy Cures, an independent group providing research and analysis for those involved in the creation of new pharmaceuticals for neglected diseases, the group reveals that while funding for neglected diseases has increased, funding for new products has decreased.

Funders appear to be focusing more of their money toward traditional basic research. This shift has caused a $50 million drop in funding for Product Development Partnerships (PDP), non-profit organizations that partner with external organizations to drive product development for neglected diseases, including neglected tropical diseases.

Report author Dr Mary Moran, Director of Policy Cures warns funders not to “take their eyes off the ball” in the press release, stating that while the increase in funding is encouraging it is important that the funds are spent wisely.

Global Health Progress has worked with partner groups to encourage and sustain funding for the research and development of new products. The innovative research and development (R&D) of new drugs and vaccines is a critical component of improving health care and combating epidemics of neglected tropical diseases in developing countries. There are no vaccines or cures for some widespread and life threatening diseases such as malaria, while existing treatments for diseases such as tuberculosis are becoming less effective due to drug resistance.

Read the full press release from Policy Cures here:
http://globalhealthprogress.org/mediacenter/wp-content/uploads/G-FINDER_Year_3_media_release.pdf,
or read the G-FINDER report on the Policy Cures website:
http://www.policycures.org/downloads/g-finder_2010.pdf.

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Global Health Progress Encourages Global Partnerships on Access to Health Care

Starting this month, members of Congress will be looking closely at U.S. spending as they work with the White House to build the 2012 budget. One area that has come under increased scrutiny is U.S. spending on global health programs. Several groups last week announced a petition (http://www.supportglobalhealth.org/) seeking support for global health spending through the United States Global Health Initiative. Many fear that even flat spending in this area could jeopardize important programs in vaccine research and treatment.

News like this highlights the important role that public-private partnerships play in supporting access to global health care. The Global Health Progress initiative seeks to bring research-based biopharmaceutical companies and global health leaders together to improve access to medicine and health care in the developing world. We are committed to being part of the effort to create a sustainable health care system that includes improving access to health care and continuing medical innovation and progress for all people.

Research-based biopharmaceutical companies and their partners around the world are working to implement sustainable solutions and strengthen the health care delivery systems so they can meet tomorrow’s challenges. Millions of people lack access to essential medicines due to factors including incomplete delivery systems, lack of training for health personnel, lack of infrastructure and the cost of treatments. We must address the underlying barriers to health care, such as weak and fragmented health systems, limited health care personnel and inadequate resources for scaling up proven solutions. The innovative research and development (R&D) of new drugs and vaccines is a critical component of improving health care and combating epidemics in developing countries.

Through meaningful public-private partnerships with others in the field, including policymakers in the developed and developing world, multi-lateral institutions, non-governmental organizations, and academia we can help shape sustainable solutions that improve the health of all people.

To stay informed on the latest news about global investment in pharmaceutical R&D and improving access to medicines, sign up to receive special alerts and newsletters. You can also spread the word about the efforts of the Global Health Progress initiative and keep others informed about how we’re affecting change around the world, or share your story about how you or someone you know is working to promote global health.

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New UN Program Will Ensure Developing Nations Continue to Have Access to Drugs Effective At Treating Malaria

Earlier this week, the United Nations announced a new plan of action designed to help fight disease resistance to artemisinin, the world’s most potent treatment for malaria. Launched by the UN World Health Organization (WHO) and the Roll Back Malaria Partnership (RBM), the groups hope to better contain and prevent resistance to artemisinins, the critical component of artemisinin-based combination therapies (ACTs), which are currently the most effective weapon in treating falciparum malaria.

The WHO’s announcement describes the plan as a five-step process which “aims to contain and prevent artemisinin resistance by stopping the spread of resistant parasites, increase monitoring and surveillance for artemisinin resistance, improve access to malaria diagnostic testing and rational treatment with ACTs, invest in artemisinin resistance-related research, and motivate action and mobilize resources.”

Global Health Progress is hopeful that this action plan will help to ensure that developing nations continue to have access to drugs that most effectively treat malaria. Many malaria-stricken countries lack the resources needed to keep an effective health care system running smoothly. Strong, effective health systems are vital to helping those in need of access to drugs, and health care improvements made today will strengthen the ability of countries to develop sustainable systems that can meet tomorrow’s challenges. Stopping the spread of drug-resistant strains of malaria and other diseases are essential to these goals.

Investing in local R&D capacity and national research systems is another way research-based biopharmaceutical companies help strengthen health systems. Local production can play a valuable role in building overall local capacity and enabling developing countries to increase access to essential medicines.

It is the responsibility of the entire international community to facilitate access to medicines. Success depends on all sectors working in partnership; not only to make medicines more accessible, but also to ensure continued innovation into new medicines for the treatment and prevention of all diseases.

About Global Health Progress:
Global Health Progress also supports efforts to raise awareness and mobilize resources to address health challenges in the developing world by bringing local leaders together with international health experts, policymakers, donor governments, and the private sector. www.globalhealthprogress.org;  twitter.com/globalhealthfacebook.com/pages/Global-Health-Progress/124850684219049;  linkedin.com/groups?home=&gid=2972068

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Global Health Progress Commends European Union and India Agreement Increasing Access to Drugs in Developing Countries

According to a Reuter’s article, the European Union (EU) and India have come to an agreement which should ease the process of exporting Indian drug manufacturers’medicines to developing countries, increasing these countries’ access to drugs.

Karel De Gucht, commissioner of the European Union (EU) has confirmed an agreement between the EU and India that will resolve some of the disputes that lead to the seizure of generic drugs in transit last year. This agreement will allow shipments of medication to pass through Europe to developing nations without being checked for anything except counterfeiting.

The new agreement will also amend custom codes allowing shipments of medications from India to reach countries located in South America via Europe. The confirmation comes amid trade talks between the EU and India.

Global Health Progress commends the agreements between the European Union and India, which will increase access to drugs, primarily generic medication, for underdeveloped countries. This process affects the affordability of generic medications to underdeveloped countries which fight the prominence of infectious diseases such as HIV/AIDS and malaria.

Since the 1960s, the philanthropic efforts of research-based biopharmaceuticalcompanies have worked to get medicines to the people that need them the most. In 2005, biopharmaceutical companies responded to requests with more than $3 billion in medical products donated worldwide.

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Global Health Progress Applauds HIV-Prevention Medicine Trial, Encourages Access to Medicines in Developing Countries

The New England Journal of Medicine recently released the results of a ground-breaking trial of an HIV-prevention method called oral pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP). Data from the trial revealed an almost 44 percent reduction of new HIV infections among participants who took the antiretroviral tablet daily to prevent HIV, compared to those who took the placebo pill.

Participants in the study included 2,499 HIV-negative gay men, transgender women, and other men who have sex with men (MSM) from Peru, Ecuador, Brazil, South Africa, Thailand and the United States; these were randomly chosen to receive the antiretroviral (ARV) drug TDF/FTC (brand name Truvada) or a placebo pill. Regular HIV tests were administrated throughout the study. At the end of the trial, 36 participants who took Truvada had become infected, compared to 64 of the participants who took the placebo pill.

Similar trials are currently being conducted among heterosexuals in Africa and injection drug users in Thailand. Additionally, a trial of a similar ARV in gel form is currently being tested in three US cities, Pittsburgh, Boston and Birmingham, Alabama.

Global Health Progress is encouraged by the outcome of this trial, as it could lead to the prevention of HIV in developing countries and around the world. However, additional funding is needed not only to continue developing drugs like this, but to increase access to medicines around the world. As the world of medicine continues to advance, it is the responsibility of the entire international community to facilitate access to medicines. Success depends on all sectors working in partnership; not only to make medicines more accessible, but also to ensure continued innovation into new medicines for the treatment and prevention of all diseases.

Research-based biopharmaceutical companies help the fight against the HIV/AIDS epidemic by providing millions of doses of anti-retroviral drugs at discounted prices and, in some cases, for free to patients in developing countries. These donation programs for Least Developed Countries and sub-Saharan Africa, together with programs for lower and middle income countries, apply to more than 87 percent of all people living with HIV/AIDS worldwide.

About Global Health Progress:
Global Health Progress also supports efforts to raise awareness and mobilize resources to address health challenges in the developing world by bringing local leaders together with international health experts, policymakers, donor governments, and the private sector. www.globalhealthprogress.orgtwitter.com/globalhealth;facebook.com/pages/Global-Health-Progress/124850684219049linkedin.com/groups?home=&gid=2972068

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Global Health Progress Amplifies New Report that Outlines Barriers in Securing Access to Medicines in Least Developed Countries

“There is a public health crisis in the least developed countries. It is a crisis made by humans and solvable only by humans. There is urgency for governments, businesses, NGOs and academia to collaborate in dealing with this most urgent of problems,” declares Cameron Institute’s new 200-page report, Pharmaceutical Access in Least Developed Countries: on-the-ground barriers and industry successes.

Executive Director D. Wayne Taylor, Ph.D., F.CIM., who prepared the report, cites the recent World Health Organization’s (WHO) Draft Global Plan and Strategy for Action in stressing the importance of pharmaceutical industry partnerships. The report states that the industry must focus its energies on “the growing burden of diseases and conditions that disproportionately affect developing countries, and particularly women and children.”

Global Health Progress actively supports the report’s outlined actions needed to solve this issue, including endorsement of public-private partnerships (PPPs), protecting intellectual property and drug patents as the cornerstones of affordable innovation, improving access to medicines and developing new drugs.

Public-private partnerships are one key way to improve access to medicines in the least developed countries. As the report notes, the research-based pharmaceutical industry, in various public-private partnerships, has been improving access to medicines in the least developed countries of the world since the 1950’s. To date, there have been 150 public-private partnerships whose aim it is to improve access to medicines and currently 90% of PPPs are industry-led.

Additionally, innovation is cited by the report as “the hallmark of the pharmaceutical industry. Without innovation there would be no immunizations,
medicines or biologics to save lives, improve quality of lives, and to save much needed healthcare dollars. A basic right in law is to retain possession of one’s own ideas and discoveries.” The report also notes the importance of protecting this innovation through intellectual property and drug patents, as well as through the infrastructure and legal structures needed for healthy growth.

The report adds that every dollar invested in new medicines relieves the healthcare system of seven dollars of expenditure elsewhere, and that new drugs increase life expectancy and life-time income by about 1.0% per year while also decreasing years of life lost. It also provides a summary of 2010 data regarding contributions provided by research-based pharmaceutical industry to least developed countries:

• USD 8,450,000,000 of product and investment
• 950,000,000 patients treated
• 9,500,000,000 doses/treatments administered
• 350,000 doctors, nurses and other health personnel trained

Despite this progress, actions are still needed to solve the problem without creating additional difficulties. For example, even though existing medicines for HIV/AIDS has reduced mortality rates in developed countries by 70%, adherence and compliance are two major obstacles, amongst many, to the successful deployment of these drugs in developing countries. Additional barriers to access and improved health in least-developed countries include “on the ground” barriers, such as market failure, corruption, non-existent health human resources and infrastructure, and the lack of both local and international political will.

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Global Health Progress Fact Sheet Projects China Will Become One of World’s Major Biopharmaceutical Players

Data revealed in Global Health Progress’ (GHP) new fact sheet shows that China is projected to become one of the world’s major biopharmaceutical players, along with the U.S., Europe, and Japan, in the next fifteen years. This projection is based on China’s commitment to improving access to healthcare by expanding its biotechnology sector, increasing its exportation of biopharmaceuticals and investing in pharmaceutical research and development (R&D).

China has one of the fastest growing economies in the world with a gross domestic product of more than $8 trillion. Its biotechnology sector has become a bright spot in the Asia Pacific region and the world markets, with an impressive average annual growth rate of 19.4% between 2000 and 2005, and is anticipated to become the world’s third-largest pharmaceutical market in 2011, a major increase over its #8 rank in 2000

Part of China’s successful growth is due to its decision to improve access to healthcare by increasing exports of biopharmaceuticals. For example, in 2006 China exported a total of US $890 million in biopharmaceuticals – a 30.61% increase compared with the previous year. China has also become the largest vaccine manufacturing country in the world, capable of producing 41 vaccines to prevent 26 viral diseases, and has become the third country to succeed in large-scale production of genetically engineered insulin.

Additionally, China’s pharmaceutical R&D expenditures are expected to reach US $10 billion or 2% of global spending by the end of 2010. The country is expected to contribute an additional $40+ billion in annual sales by 2013, comparable to the level of increased sales forecast for the US market in the same period.

China’s investment in the biotechnology sector has translated into improvements regarding access to healthcare and the country’s economic growth through creating high-quality, highly skilled jobs. Currently, there are more than 500 biotechnology companies in China with the biopharmaceutical sector employing approximately 50,000 people. Additionally, pharmaceutical R&D is taking the form of multinational biopharmaceutical companies setting up research facilities in biotechnology parks in China, which can drive highly-skilled, high wage job growth and encourage better access to healthcare.

Please view full PDF for additional information and list of sources.

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Russia Reveals Renewed Commitment to Expand, Promote Biotechnology Sector

Global Health Progress (GHP) released a new fact sheet highlighting Russia’s commitment to expanding and promoting its biotechnology sector. Although the biopharmaceutical sector in Russia is less developed than other markets, the sector is making progress by implementing public policies that support pharmaceutical research and development (R&D) for life-changing treatments, contribute high-quality, high wage jobs to the region and increase the number of clinical trials offered to the population to improve access to drugs and help reduce the overall burden of disease.

Currently, Russia accounts for approximately 0.5% of the world biotechnology market, two-thirds of which are biopharmaceuticals. In 2010, the value of the biopharmaceutical market in Russia was estimated to be approximately US $17.2 billion, compared with US $10.4 billion in 2006. According to analysts, the Russian market is predicted to expand at a compound annual growth rate of 8.3% over the next few years and approximately 53% of the biopharmaceuticals market in Russia is comprised of innovative medicines.

As part of a national 10-year plan to promote biotechnology, the government is enacting policies to strengthen Russia’s pharmaceutical research and development (R&D) areas that have been historically strong. For example, special economic zones will focus on attracting investors to commercialize biotechnology and related innovations. Additionally, the Russian government is investing in “bioparks,” R&D clusters of biotechnology and related sectors.

Russia is well-known for its highly skilled scientific workforce and the biopharmaceutical sector has emerged as an important source of high-quality, highly skilled jobs. As the presence of biopharmaceutical companies increases, so does the pool of highly skilled doctors, scientists and researchers. According to Burrill & Company, the biopharmaceutical sector currently employs approximately 12,000 people with the average salary for a PhD scientist in Russia approximately US $1,800.

Currently, Russia ranks 12 out of 25 in terms of active clinical trials with 1,084 sites with an average relative annual growth rate of 33%. However, as of February 2010, there were 304 medicines in development in Russia, making the country one of the fastest annual growth rates. The growth in share of global clinical trials can bring health benefits, including the diffusion of medical knowledge and effective medical practice, greater patient access to high quality care and improve access to drugs. Clinical trials can also help reduce the overall burden of disease on the Russian population.

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Brazil’s Biopharmaceutical Sector Contributes to Economic Growth, Expands Access to Healthcare

Global Health Progress (GHP) released a new report that reveals how the biopharmaceutical sector in Brazil, the tenth largest biopharmaceutical market in the world and the largest in Latin America, is an important driver for its economy. For instance, Brazil’s biopharmaceutical sector develops high-quality, highly skilled jobs, which is a key factor in creating a stable economy. Currently, approximately 821 biotechnology companies in Brazil employ almost 100,000 people with an average annual salary of approximately US $4,457. Among those companies, six biopharmaceutical companies were featured in a 2003 list of the top 100 companies to work for in Brazil.

Not only does the biopharmaceutical sector produce valuable job opportunities for highly skilled workers, this emerging market plays a critical role in fostering public-private partnerships, which leads to more economic growth and greater access to healthcare for its citizens.

Investment in research and development (R&D) and promoting innovation are key ways the Brazilian government is helping drive future growth of the country’s biopharmaceutical sector. For instance, R&D investments in Brazil have increased to 1.5% of GDP in 2010 and there are more than 205 highly trained physicians per 100,000 of the population serving as investigators for clinical studies.

“In Brazil, promoting innovation is a public policy priority,” stated Rafael Oliva, Advisor to the Presidency at the Brazilian Development Bank. “The participation of the Brazilian government in research and development (R&D) is considerable, and the goal is to both increase innovative activities in Brazil on a systematic basis, and to consolidate the country’s culture of innovation.” GHP fact sheet shows how Brazil’s investment in research and development (R&D) will create positive effects throughout the economy, including improving access to healthcare for its citizens through the production of new medicines. The growing field of clinical trials is also a significant factor in improving access to healthcare. Brazil’s large population of 190 million people, with 8 out of every 10 residents living in or near a city, means clinical trial recruitment and participation is fairly robust.

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Removing Intellectual Property Rights Will Only Worsen Africa’s Healthcare Crisis

In recent commentary in the Wall Street Journal, Alec van Gelder, Project Director at the International Policy Network wrote that strong intellectual property rights are critical to strengthening Africa’s health care system. He criticized statements by the Head of the World Health Organization Essential Medicines Program, Hans Hogerzeil. Hoberzeil wrote that “Big Pharma” and intellectual property rights are preventing the world’s poorest countries from receiving access to healthcare. Contradicting these assertions, van Gelder pointed out that the region’s lack of health infrastructure and the diversion of aid money are the real culprits behind the crisis.

“Drug companies do make easy targets but that doesn’t make them villains,” said van Gelder, “The life-saving treatments they create remain Africa’s best hope. The misguided battle against pharmaceutical companies’ patent rights will only make Africa’s health crisis worse.”

van Gelder notes that the growing field of public-private partnerships have resulted in a twelve-fold increase in patients receiving treatment over the last decade and have created a program of voluntary patent licenses for lower-cost “generics” manufacturers. Furthermore, fewer than 5% of WHO’s 423 Essential Medicines are currently protected by patents and these are mostly advanced “second-line” anti-AIDS medicines.

Global Health Progress (GHP) is actively supporting public-private partnerships to help address the need for access to medicines. Strong patent protection and intellectual property rights are critical components of these efforts to treat the public health challenges that the world’s poorest countries face. As van Gelder aptly points out, “Trampling over intellectual property rights removes drug companies’ incentives to invest billions of dollars in the development of the next generation” of much-needed and sought after drugs.

Rather, GHP supports the continued development of public-private partnerships, research and development and protection for intellectual property rights. These policies ensure that developing countries continue to have drugs available at reasonable costs, that pharmaceutical companies continue to embrace innovations and that all organizations can work together to improve healthcare infrastructure worldwide.

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‘Drugging the Undruggable’ Symposium Highlights Advances in Treating Cancer, Diabetes and Other Major Diseases

Scientists from government, industry, and academia presenting at the 240th National Meeting of the American Chemical Society released a new report highlighting advances in creating the next generation of medicines for treating cancer, diabetes, and other major diseases. The report, which was featured during the special symposium, “Drugging the Undruggable,” summarized progress in drug development for diseases that were once considered “untouchable.” These treatments specifically targeted conditions where previous efforts to develop a drug therapyhad failed.

However, after decades of a seemingly impossible search, scientists appear to be making a breakthrough in the area of drug development to treat cancers and other diseases. As Science Daily noted in their coverage of the report and symposium, scientists have identified “stapled peptides,” a new family of potential drugs capable of blocking a key protein that’s involved in the development of cancer.

Global Health Progress (GHP) supports symposium presenters’ statements regarding the importance of these type of drug developments. For instance, Gregory Verdine, a chemical biologist at Harvard University, explained:

“The entire pharmaceutical industry has been working on drug-design platforms that focus on this little sliver of human drug targets and this limits the drug arsenal available to doctors. What’s required is an entirely new class of drugs that overcome the shortcomings of drugs of the past.” Innovative research and development (R&D) of new drugs is critical in improving overall healthcare, combating epidemics and fighting diseases. Drug development is just one way research-based biopharmaceutical companies serve as active partners in some of the largest and boldest health initiatives that explore new and effective ways to provide treatment, care and education to millions of people both domestically and internationally.

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Medicines for Malaria Venture (MMV) Joins The Pool for Open Innovation Against Neglected Tropical Diseases

Global Health Progress (GHP) is pleased to highlight the announcement that the not-for-profit public-private partnership Medicines for Malaria Venture (MMV) will became the first product development partnership (PDP) to contribute intellectual property to The Pool for Open Innovation against Neglected Tropical Diseases (The Pool).

MMV joined GlaxoSmithKline (GSK), Alnylam Pharmaceuticals, and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in providing intellectual property to The Pool. Discussing the decision, Professor Patrick Nef, Executive Vice President of Business Development at MMV, states, “In this way we hope to make fully available the know-how and technologies, assembled by MMV against malaria, for the research and development of innovative and efficacious treatments for other neglected diseases.”

By emphasizing a more accessible approach to intellectual property and know-how, The Pool facilitates access to patents and/or technologies for organizations that want to conduct research on treatments and motivates innovative and efficient drug discoveries and developments for neglected diseases.

The Pool is administered by BIO Ventures for Global Health (BVGH). It’s accessible to industry, non-profit institutions, and academic researchers who conduct research and drug development activities that deliver real benefits for patients in the least developed countries of the world.

Global Health Progress echoes the sentiment that MMV’s contribution of patents to The Pool, resulting from its research for new antimalarials, is an important milestone from an organization that plays a major role in leading the development of new therapeutics for malaria.

Global Health Progress supports the continuing partnership between not-for-profit public-private partnerships and research-based biopharmaceutical companies as a way to fight neglected tropical disease through targeted research and development (R&D), improving access to critical medicines and providing key intellectual property.

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Global Health Progress Stresses Importance of Product Development Partnerships

Helen Coster’s recent commentary in her new Forbes blog Good Work addresses the issue of how product development partnerships (PDPs) can develop and improve treatments for neglected diseases like malaria, leishmaniasis, and Chagas disease.

Coster notes, “These diseases affect the world’s poorest people, and they often get ignored by pharmaceutical companies for a simple economic reason: there is no way that considerable investment in research will be recouped in drug sales.”

Coster’s entry highlights the work of some of the best-known PDPs, such as the Drugs for Neglected Disease Initiative, Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunization, the International AIDS Vaccine Initiative and the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis & Malaria. Coster also highlighted the significant funding of PDPs by The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.

In closing, Coster invites her readers to discuss the PDP approach to eradicating neglected diseases and what role, if any, the pharmaceutical industry, philanthropists and other global organizations should play in the fight.

Global Health Progress also believes that public-private product development partnerships are invaluable in expanding the capacity of research and development (R&D) on innovative drugs and vaccines for neglected diseases. These partnerships help by harnessing the technical expertise and resources of the private sector with the approach of universities, research institutes and other public organizations.

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Recent African Leaders Malaria Alliance Meeting Highlights Importance of Partnerships to Ensure Continued Progress on Malaria Vaccine

During the recent African Union summit, the African Leaders Malaria Alliance (ALMA) gathered to discuss how to combat the threat of malaria in the continent. Inspired by this meeting, Madiké Seye, Vice-President for Africa – GlaxoSmithKline wrote a guest article on the Independent’s website calling for “new tools, such as a malaria vaccine, which could complement existing interventions.”

Seye wrote, “Vaccines and immunization services have been critical to improving Africa’s health over the last several decades. Anyone whose child has suffered f r o m malaria – and there are only few of us who have not directly been affected by the disease – can imagine what a malaria vaccine would mean.”

F r o m there, Seye highlighted the importance of partnerships between African leaders, policymakers, international groups and the pharmaceutical industry. These collaborations are required in order to move forward with making the dream of a malaria vaccine a reality, whether that’s through improving drug prices or investing in technology to fully develop the vaccine. Seye noted that the vaccine is already in the final phases of development and trial results have consistently shown an “acceptable safety profile.”

Global Health Progress supports the role of these public and private partnerships and the participation of the pharmaceutical industry, particularly when it comes to addressing issues involving drug prices, access to medicines, and the continued efforts to create innovative new drugs and vaccines. GHP believes research and development are especially critical components of improving health care and combating epidemics of neglected tropical diseases, such as malaria, in developing countries.

GHP echoes Seye’s call for countries, multilaterals, NGOs, the pharmaceutical industry and scientists to continue to work together to, “make sure Africa is ready for a vaccine. One day there may be the means to save many more lives and change the equation in the fight against malaria for good.”

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Global Health Progress Epitomizes Clinton, Gates’ Call for ‘Efficiency Savings’ In Regards to HIV/AIDS Prevention Treatments, Services

During a recent international conference in Vienna for 20,000 AIDS scientists, health workers and activists, former U.S. President Bill Clinton and Microsoft founder Bill Gates urged AIDS activists to try to generate the most value possible out of funds set aside for HIV/AIDS prevention services and treatments, including securing access to drugs. Reuters Health and Science Correspondent Kate Kelland highlighted the leaders’ remarks in a recent article:

“The world is awash in troubles. It is easy to rail at a government and say … give us more money. But we also have to change the way we do what we do,” Clinton told the conference. “If we’re going to make this case, they (donor governments) have to believe that we are doing our job faster, better and cheaper. Then we have the moral standing to go ask people to give us more money.” Gates, a philanthropist whose Gates Foundation spends a large portion of its $34 billion fund on fighting AIDS, said efficiency was vital to be able to scale up access to AIDS drugs for the 15 million people who need them, “We can’t keep spending AIDS resources in exactly the same way we do today,” he said. “As we … advocate for more funding, we also need to make sure we’re getting the most benefit from each dollar of AIDS funding and every ounce of effort.”

In keeping with this message, Global Health Progress’ recent 3rd Annual African Health Delegation let African officials share experiences, expertise and insights about how they efficiently employ available resources when battling diseases in Africa. These conferences are just one way GHP helps advocacy groups meet Clinton and Gates’ plea for activists to employ “efficiency saving” tactics when delivering treatments and securing access to drugs for countries “hardest hit and at highest risk” by HIV/AIDs and other diseases.

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Global Health Progress Highlights ViiV Healthcare’s Announcement of New Initiatives

Global Health Progress highlights ViiV Healthcare’s announcement of a new series of initiatives, including improving access to medicines, to support people living with HIV/AIDS in the poorest and most vulnerable countries.

To address the evolving treatment needs in these countries, ViiV Healthcare will now allow people living with HIV/AIDS to access the whole portfolio of ViiV Healthcare antiretroviral medicines, produced by generic companies. Additionally, ViiV Healthcare is implementing the groundbreaking step of making all patents available to generic manufacturers in these countries for all future pipeline developments, such as the novel integrase inhibitor jointly under development Shionogi – ViiVHealthcare, LLC.

ViiV Healthcare is also expanding the number of countries eligible for this expanded access to medicines to include all least developed countries, all low income countries and all of sub-Saharan Africa – that is 80% of all people currently living with HIV. “At ViiV Healthcare we wanted to go one step further in addressing the HIV/AIDS crisis and supporting access for people living with HIV in the worst affected countries. As a company totally focused and dedicated to tackling this epidemic we are passionately committed to thinking and acting differently and taking new steps to expand access,” said Dr Dominique Limet, CEO of ViiV Healthcare, “At present the numbers of people in the least developed countries moving onto second line therapy is very low compared to the developed world. However as more people have access to treatment, there is an increased need for second and third line treatment options once initial treatment failure occurs.”

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Global Health Progress Releases New Report that Features Innovative Solutions to Improve Access to Healthcare in India

Global Health Progress’ recently released report, Innovative Solutions to Improving Health in India, summarizes how the organization is committed to building sustainable, innovative solutions to secure access to healthcare for all Indian communities.

The report notes that access to healthcare remains problematic in parts of India, especially in rural areas. For instance, forty percent of the country’s primary healthcare centers are understaffed and fewer than one in five have a telephone connection. Nearly one million Indians die every year due to inadequate healthcare facilities and lack of access to healthcare. Without qualified health care professionals and fully equipped health facilities, programs to assist patients with medicines (both patented and unpatented) are of little use.

Additionally, chronic diseases are on the rise in India and infectious diseases continue to afflict Indian patients. India has the highest prevalence of tuberculosis (TB) in the world, 60 percent of the world’s heart disease, and malaria has staged a comeback after its near eradication in the 1960s. An estimated 40.9 million Indian patients suffer from diabetes, the highest number in the world, and 30 million people are infected with Hepatitis B Virus (HBV).

Global Health Progress recognizes this serious situation and calls on joint action among local leaders and diverse global stakeholders to implement sustainable, innovative solutions. Fortunately, Indian communities have successful and long-standing collaborations with biopharmaceutical companies and other international partners.

The full report, which features examples of India’s successful and long-standing collaborations with international partners, is available here:
http://globalhealthprogress.org/mediacenter/index.php/global-health-progress-report…

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Unitaids Pool for HIV/AIDS Pharmaceutical Patents Appears Flawed

Recently the International Policy Network (IPN), a nongovernmental educational organization focused on highlighting the role of free society institutions in social and economic development, released a report discussing Unitaid’s proposed pharmaceutical patent pool. Written by Alec van Gelder and Philip Stevens, this report examines the implications of creating a pharmaceutical patent pool for anti-retroviral medicines (ARVs) in order to improve treatments for HIV/AIDs.

The report examines the potential problems associated with this move, which would allow researchers to experiment on patented ARVs in order to create more effective “fixed dose combination” drugs (FDC) for subpopulations in Africa. Unitaid would distribute these new drugs on a non-profit basis, where royalties as determined by patent pool administrators would be paid to patent holders. The authors of the article point to several issues that could arise with this type of patent pool, including:

• Distribution barriers in Africa, where poor healthcare infrastructure and a shortage of trained personnel exists. These barriers could hinder the new
medications from reaching those that really need it.
• Uncertain need for a patent pool type of arrangement, when many companies already allow researchers to investigate patented material. The authors write, “Many companies have established programmes which give academic researchers free access to vast proprietary compound libraries.”
• Unclear incentive for patent holders to give up intellectual property rights to drugs, knowing that the royalties they could receive would be significantly less than what they are receiving now from the patent.

Stevens and van Gelder conclude that this type of patent pool needs a better focus before they would be able to garner support for it within the industry. If the patent pool was to become compulsory, “R&D, licensing production to existing and new FDCs along with access to medicines would be undermined and potentially crowded out of the marketplace altogether by an unwieldy and unworkable bureaucracy.” They add that this would be counter-productive to Unitaid’s efforts, and could slow access to medicines in the countries that most need them.

To learn more about Unitaid’s pool for pharmaceutical patents read the full article here.

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