‘India spurs global growth in public funding for neglected disease R&D’

ICMR investment for tuberculosis research touches $6 million, a rise of 47%

January 24, 2019 10:43 pm | Updated January 25, 2019 12:30 am IST - NEW DELHI

Last year, WHO sounded the alarm when it said tuberculosis had surpassed HIV/AIDS as the world's number one infectious killer.

Last year, WHO sounded the alarm when it said tuberculosis had surpassed HIV/AIDS as the world's number one infectious killer.

Indian public funding for research and development (R&D) in neglected diseases increased significantly in 2017, growing by ₹135 crore or 38%, contributing to the strongest global growth since 2009, according to a new report.

Worldwide funding for neglected disease R&D in 2017 reached its highest level ever, exceeding $3.5 billion, according to the 11th annual G-FINDER report released in Geneva. At that level, funding was up 7% since 2016, driven primarily by new investments from the U.K., the European Commission, Germany and India.

197 outfits surveyed

A total of 197 organisations including public funders from nine middle-income countries (Argentina, Brazil, Colombia, Cuba, Egypt, India, Mexico, Thailand and South Africa) participated in the survey leading to the report. The G-FINDER report on global investments in R&D to tackle neglected infectious diseases released by the Policy Cures Research is a comprehensive report offering an up-to-date analysis of how R&D investments are being allocated across diseases and product types, funding trends over time, and where gaps lie.


For India the report also found that “for the first time Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) has been placed in the top four largest funders for R&D in tuberculosis with a $6 million or 47% increase in investment.” Also leprosy funding increased by $2 million (up 47%), entirely driven by the ICMR.

“It is very encouraging to note that investments in neglected disease R&D went up in 2017, especially from middle-income countries,” said Dr. Soumya Swaminathan, deputy director general of the World Health Organization. “Millions continue to suffer and new tools are urgently needed.”

The U.S. government retained the top spot as the world’s largest public funder, providing an additional 1.5% ($23 million) for a total of $1.6 billion.

The public sector continued to be the most significant funding source for neglected disease research, contributing almost two-thirds of the total.

“Significant new investments came from Europe, with the United Kingdom government scaling up its contribution by 89% the European Commission by 50%, and the German government by 39%,’’ notes the report.

Public funding from low- and middle-income countries (LMICs) increased by 19 % with India contributing nearly three-quarters of this total.

The Indian government increased its contribution by 38% maintaining its position as the fourth-largest public funder globally, and providing the highest reported level of public funding from an LMIC government.

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