Fatal Imbalance: About the authors

About the authors Médecins Sans Frontières Access to Essential Medicines Campaign Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) is an independent medical humanitarian organization committed to providing medical assistance to people in need regardless of race, religion, politics or gender, and to raising awareness of the plight of the people it helps. Too often, MSF volunteers, who work in over 80 countries worldwide, are left without adequate treatment options when the only available drugs are archaic, ineffective or toxic. To address this chronic emergency, MSF launched the Access to Essential Medicines Campaign in 1999. Successes of the Campaign include raising awareness internationally of the access crisis, contributing to the dramatic fall in prices of antiretroviral drugs for the treatment of HIV/AIDS, securing a supply of discounted second-line drugs for multi-drug resistant tuberculosis, and ensuring the long-term production of four drugs for sleeping sickness. The Campaign has also helped put the problem of access to essential medicines on the international agenda. The Drugs for Neglected Diseases Working Group In October 1999, a group of concerned scientists, health professionals, and representatives from non-governmental organizations, the pharmaceutical industry, developing country governments and international organizations met in Paris to discuss stimulating the development and securing the availability of drugs for neglected diseases. Médecins Sans Frontières, the World Health Organization and the Rockefeller Foundation convened the meeting. Following the meeting, the Drugs for Neglected Diseases (DND) Working Group was formed to continue the work begun at the conference by developing new ideas to restart research and development (R&D) of drugs for neglected diseases. The DND Working Group is a multi-disciplinary and independent group that includes researchers, drug development experts, and regulatory affairs professionals from the public and private sectors of developed and developing countries. According to the DND Working Group mission statement, "it is the responsibility of society to address this public health failure, and seek new and creative strategies to solve this problem.... Solutions and recommendations need to be sustainable, affordable, need-driven and involve input and active engagement of developing countries." The DND Working Group has studied the causes and proposed solutions for the R&D crisis. The group has also advocated for the active engagement and financial support of governments, private enterprises, foundations and international organizations to compensate for the failure of the market to provide drugs for neglected diseases. The work of the group focuses on the most neglected diseases, such as sleeping sickness and leishmaniasis, in addition to neglected diseases that are already receiving some renewed attention, such as tuberculosis and malaria. Close links have been established with other institutions such as the Special Programme for Research and Training in Tropical Diseases (TDR), which is based at the World Health Organization, and the Global Alliance for Tuberculosis Drug Development. Part of the DND Working Group strategy is to fund and manage pilot drug development projects. The DND and TDR are working together to undertake several drug development projects that have not been completed due to lack of funds and human resources. Funding for these pilot projects is being provided partially by MSF and will be managed by drug development experts. Fatal Imbalance: Editorial Advisory Group: Bernard Pécoul, James Orbinski, Els Torreele Editors: Daniel Berman, Suerie Moon Managing Editor: Anastasia Warpinski Writing and Research: Diana Smith and Laurence Binet, Laure Bonnevie, Laura Hakokongas, Jennifer Meybaum Special Thanks: Rachel Cohen, Phil Clarke, Yves Champey, Pierre Chirac, Tido von Schoen-Angerer, Ellen 't Hoen, Kris Torgeson, Patrice Trouiller, Dyann Wirth Design: European Service Network, Brussels, Belgium Printing: Editions Européennes, Brussels, Belgium MSF Access to Essential Medicines Campaign Rue du Lac 12 CP 6090 - CH-1211 Geneva 6 Switzerland 41-22-849-8405 (phone) 41-22-849-8404 (fax) www.accessmed-msf.org www.msf.org Published by Médecins Sans Frontières Access to Essential Medicines Campaign and the Drugs for Neglected Diseases Working Group, September 2001