The American Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene has urged the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to address the issue of neglected tropical diseases more effectively.

Scientists warned the regulator that more than 70% of the $3bn global budget allocated for neglected disease R&D was allocated to HIV/AIDS, malaria, and tuberculosis, leaving little for other diseases.

Accordingly, most not-for-profit organisations and academic institutions would welcome additional guidance from the FDA and national regulatory authorities in countries where these diseases and conditions are part of the landscape.

Because there are no major economic markets for drugs to treat neglected tropical diseases in the US, Europe or Japan, major pharmaceutical companies are less likely to conduct their own R&D into these health issues.

Peter J Hotez, president-elect of the association, said that the FDA could help enormously by increasing its guidance and mentorship to companies.

“These organisations would also welcome increased financial support for neglected tropical disease product development and testing, and an expansion of FDA’s orphan grants programme,” he said.

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