TAG reports TB R&D investment increases in 2010; still not enough

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The Treatment Action Group (TAG) has released the 2010 Report on Tuberculosis Research Funding Trends, 2005-2009, which shows a “dramatic increase” of $122.5 million in research & development (R&D) spending between 2008 and 2009, with a total spending level of $614 million. The National Institutes of Health, the European Commission, the U.K. Medical Research Council, the U.K. Department for International Development and the U.S. Agency for International Development all reported substantial increases over 2008 levels.  In addition to this financial support from governments, drug companies also increased their investment in clinical trials.

Nevertheless the report acknowledges that this level of investment is nowhere near the $1.8 billion annual target identified in the Global Plan to Fight Tuberculosis or the $2 billion annual investment supported by TAG, which TAG estimates is needed to eliminate TB as a global health threat by 2050.   TAG argues that greater R&D investment by high-burden TB countries – especially middle-income countries like Brazil, China, India, the Russian Federation and South Africa – is essential.

TB drug development, still the most well-funded R&D research area, achieved 30 percent of funding for all TB R&D research areas, with $183.3 million invested. There are currently 11 TB drugs undergoing clinical investigation.

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