A "Neglected Diseases Fund" was established and MSF programmes were invited to submit proposals for projects to be supported by the fund. Several of these were selected on the basis of their potential for improving access to essential drugs for populations in danger.
One year later, the Access to Essential Medicines Campaign is a fundamental aspect of MSF and has been successful in drawing attention to one of the fundamental causes of death in developing countries - limited access to essential, life saving drugs.
However the development of the campaign has been diverse and multi-faceted. MSF has identified five key diseases that are considered neglected, either as a disease where research and development is ongoing or where access to the life-saving drugs is limited due to cost.
The Neglected Diseases
These diseases are:
- sleeping sickness
1999 Nobel Peace prize money goes to research for treating diseases of the poor
MSF announces how the 1999 Nobel Peace Prize money, which was used to set up a Neglected Disease Fund, has been allocated.
The need for development of new drugs
Drug resistance is spreading across the globe. The problem is not new but it has worsened considerably over the last decade. The result is that a new medicine is only effective for a limited length of time before the microbe develops resistance to the drug that is rendered ineffective.
Strains of malaria and tuberculosis exist that are resistant to almost all drugs. It is vital that research and development efforts are made to find new drugs to replace those made ineffective by drug-resistance.