Problem

Uneconomical diseases

Other Names:
Economic bias in disease research
Uneconomical malaria research
Nature:
Rich countries study the diseases that afflict their citizens and ignore the major killer diseases of the developing world when it comes to medical research expenditure.
Background:
Malaria is an example of a disease that ranks high for death and disability in poor countries but very low in research expenditures among rich nations where it is rare to nonexistant. While commercial medical research in the developed world is a multibillion dollar industry, research into malaria - which kills upwards of 3 million people each year - is estimated around US $100 million, mostly from public funds. Researchers in malaria, which is virulent in Asia and Africa, say malaria offers little potential for long term profits or even recouping the costs of research.
Incidence:
A 1998 report in Science magazine, proposed a consortium approach for malaria research involving private firms, medical foundations, government and international health agencies in a 7 year build up to an annual expenditure of US $ 30 million, with private firms providing 70% of the total research budget. The companies declined to be involved for a variety of commercial, legalistic and scientific reasons, with some of them explaining that they were already doing some work on drugs and vaccines.
Related UN Sustainable Development Goals:
GOAL 3: Good Health and Well-beingGOAL 4: Quality EducationGOAL 8: Decent Work and Economic GrowthGOAL 10: Reduced Inequality
Problem Type:
J: Problems Under Consideration
Date of last update
07.02.1999 – 00:00 CET