Global health challenges
Neglected tropical diseases
Neglected Tropical Diseases
Interventions in Neglected Tropical Diseases (NTDs) represent some of the largest public health interventions globally, and the innovative biopharmaceutical industry has always been an active partner throughout.
Stopping neglected diseases is achievable. By assisting countries to build strong health systems that are accessible and staffed with qualified healthcare workers, along with helping to bolster the supply chain and facilitate the development and delivery of quality, affordable medicines and vaccines, the innovative biopharmaceutical industry will ensure no one is left behind on our collective journey to reach the SDGs and achieve UHC.
Strong progress has been made towards tackling Neglected Tropical Diseases (NTDs) over the past decade, although notably a number of NTD donation programs began much before this. In 2019, for the fifth consecutive year, more than one billion people were treated for at least one of the 20 NTDs that are being targeted for control or elimination by the World Health Organization (WHO). Furthermore, over 600 million fewer people no longer require interventions against NTDs. However, over 1.7 billion of the world’s poorest people – or one in five – still have their lives affected, or worse cut short, by NTDs, highlighting the need for a continued, concerted focus on tackling these diseases.
2020 was a landmark year for NTDs. The London Declaration – a collective commitment launched in 2012 to bring resources to bear to end NTDs – came to an end. More than 80 diverse partners committed to the declaration, including original endorsers: AbbVie, Bayer, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Bristol-Myers Squibb, Children’s Investment Fund Foundation, DNDi, MSD, Eisai, Gilead, GSK, Johnson & Johnson, Lions Club International Foundation, Merck, Mundo Sano, Novartis, Pfizer, Sanofi, The World Bank, DFID and USAID.
In addition, this year marked the 10-year countdown to the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), which includes SDG target 3.3 to ‘End the epidemics of AIDS, tuberculosis, malaria, NTDs and other communicable diseases’ and its supporting indicator: Measuring the number of people requiring interventions against NTDs. The political will to address NTDs was exemplified at the 2019 United Nations (UN) High Level Meeting on Universal Health Coverage (UHC), which recognized that access to NTD interventions is integral to achieving ‘Health for All’.
Now, a new chapter is being forged for NTDs. Recognizing that global health actors need to continue to mobilize joint action on NTDs, a new declaration was launched in January 2022: The Kigali Declaration. Once again, this declaration highlights the cross-sector support needed from policy makers, community leaders, civil society, industry and others to advance our journey to control, eliminate and eradicate NTDs, especially in light of emerging global health challenges, such as antimicrobial resistance.
As the innovative biopharmaceutical industry, we recognize that, to achieve an NTD-free world, we need to work together to sustain current access and capacity building initiatives and develop new, innovative approaches to NTD treatment and care. By assisting countries to build strong health systems, including NTD country programs, that are accessible and staffed with qualified healthcare workers, along with helping to bolster the supply chain and facilitate the development and delivery of quality, affordable medicines and vaccines, we will ensure no one is left behind on our collective journey to reach the SDGs and achieve UHC.
In 2012, the London Declaration brought together the innovative biopharmaceutical industry with multi-sector partners to advance R&D and access to medicines to eradicate, eliminate, or control 10 NTDs by 2020, including a pledge to donate 14 billion treatments over 10 years. Now, in 2022, private sector and pharmaceutical companies have once again affirmed their commitment to NTDs as signatories of the Kigali Declaration.
NTD treatments donated by pharmaceutical industry in 2019
more than one billion people were treated for at least one of the WHO’s 20 prioritized NTDs
donation programs for NTDs run by 11 companies, in between one and 74 countries