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Major Diseases Get Only 10 percent of Research Funds: Expert

Thursday, 27 October 2011, 08:14 Hrs
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Sonipat (Haryana): Diseases accounting for 90 percent of the global disease burden receive only 10 percent of all medical research worldwide, said a Yale University professor and advocated setting up of a Health Impact Fund (HIF) so that medicines can reach all categories of people across the globe.

Pofessor Thomas Pogge of Yale University said this while delivering the first Professor Arjun K. Sengupta memorial lecture at the O.P. Jindal Global University here Tuesday.

"Pneumonia, diarrhea, tuberculosis and malaria, which account for over 20 percent of the global burden of disease, receive less than 1 percent of all public and private funds devoted to health research," he said.

"Today all human beings are unable to realize all their human rights and most of the current massive under fulfillment of human rights is directly connected to poverty," he said.

Citing chilling statistics of human rights violations, Prof. Pogge expressed concern over the fact that roughly one third of all human deaths - about 50,000 of them daily - are due to poverty related causes which are easily preventable through better nutrition, safe drinking water, vaccines and medicines.

Pogge stated that the more powerful countries, corporations and citizens violate the human rights of the global poor when, for the sake of minor gains, they do things that aggravate severe poverty and disease.

He observed that the regulation of trade through protectionist barriers, intellectual property, profit-and-loss reporting, banking deposits, environmental harms, labour standards, sovereign borrowing and resource exports and international trade in arms contribute to poverty.

He advocated the need for global institutional reforms in order to eradicate poverty, fulfill human rights and secure global justice and establishment of a Health Impact Fund (HIF).

Spelling out details of Health Impact Fund, Prof. Pogge said innovators may voluntarily register any new medicine with the HIF.

"It promises to reward upon registration any new medicine annually for ten years on the basis of its global health impact. It is funded by willing governments at initially $ 6 billion per annum. Registrant gives up no intellectual property rights but agrees to sell the new medicine wherever it is needed at the lowest feasible average cost of manufacture and distribution and to grant zero-priced licenses after reward period," he said.

"The poor get better access to important new medicines through their own funds or through national governments, international agencies, or NGOs. The HIF provides powerful new incentives to develop new medicines with the greatest health impact - regardless of the socio-economic composition of the patient population. The HIF alleviates last mile problems in drug delivery."

The inaugural issue of the Jindal Journal of International Affairs (JJIA) was released on the occasion. Jayshree Sengupta and Mitu Sengupta from late Arjun Sengupta's family participated in the function.
Source: IANS
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