“Drug companies got out of antibiotics as their attention switched to much more lucrative daily medicines for chronic diseases”
In March, at the World Health Organisation’s first Ministerial Conference on Global Action Against Dementia in Geneva, Jeremy Hunt, the UK’s health secretary, announced plans to boost early-stage research into Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia in order to find an effective treatment. Just three new drugs for the condition have reached market in the past 15 years and these only alleviate symptoms.
The WHO conference was supported by the Department of Health of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, and the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD). Both days were webcast.
Ongoing lifelong drug treatment is very profitable – not so pre-emption
The $100m venture capital fund will be backed by the UK government and several of the world’s biggest pharmaceuticals companies, amongst them US investment bank JPMorgan, GlaxoSmithKline, Johnson & Johnson, Pfizer, Eli Lilly and Biogen.
Drug companies had lost billions of dollars in many failed trials and Patrick Vallance, president of research and development at GlaxoSmithKline, said the venture fund was a good way to spread risk and share expertise.
He added that there are rewarding economic incentives for research. “Nobody doubts that if you find an effective medicine for dementia it will be very profitable.”
True – and discovering and addressing the causes would remove this market opportunity.
Infectious bacteria are becoming resistant to the drugs that used to kill them. The last new class of antibiotics was discovered in the 1980s. There is little in the development pipelines of the world’s pharmaceutical industry. Drug companies got out of antibiotics as their attention switched to much more lucrative daily medicines for chronic diseases. Public funding on antibiotic research has also withered.