Rising incidence of neglected diseases in the country, intensified with lack of availability of new drugs in the market, has prompted healthcare experts to urge the government to come out with a definite Public Private Partnership (PPP) model. This comes in the wake of understanding that there have been very few research and development (R&D) initiatives taken by the pharma companies to cater to these disease profile, lately.
Dengue, severe dengue, rabies, TB, chagas, human African trypanosomiasis also known as sleeping sickness, leishmaniases, buruli ulcer, leprosy or Hansen disease, trachoma, yaws, cysticercosis and taeniasis are some of the leading neglected diseases across the globe.
It is understood that both the multinationals as well as the top generic companies globally have been either sidelining or ignoring this segment due to low profitability margin, compared to other segments. Which in turn has created a huge demand gap in the healthcare system wherein experts point out that the incidence of neglected diseases have been steadily rising with hardly any new cure for the same. Further complicating the matter is growing drug resistance among the patients, especially among TB patients, due to non availability of proper medication or lack of mediation, threatening to generate a global risk factor.
Dr H G Koshia, commissioner, Food & Drugs Control Administration, (FDCA), Gujarat, who had recently represented the Indian drug regulatory body at a global healthcare forum organised by the Bill and Milinda Gates Foundation stressed that the issue of neglected disease is an area that urgently needs government intervention, especially since hardly any incremental development is done by the pharma companies to develop new drugs in this area.
“The data submitted during the forum were staggering, which showed that only few companies dedicated their resources to develop new molecules aimed at preventing and curing these targeted diseases affecting millions of people across the globe, especially in the developing countries like India. Ironically, there have been no new drug discovered in the recent times and the drugs that are available in the market today are decade old. Under the current circumstance, to ensure that the patients do not suffer due to non availability of cure, steps should be taken to accumulate corpus funds and indulge in a PPP model that will help in the research and development of the new drug molecules dedicated for the neglected diseases,” Dr Koshia stressed.