around 15 million people world-wide die from an infectious disease.
estimated 97% of deaths from infectious diseases occur in developing
diseases are responsible for more than half of all deaths in
Over 75% of
the world's population live in developing countries but they account
for only 8% of the pharmaceutical sales world-wide.
of the world's population lacks access to essential drugs.
In the most
impoverished parts of Africa and Asia this figure is over 50%.
developing countries, the monthly cost of antiretroviral drugs to
keep AIDS patients alive is 30 times higher than the average monthly
Out of the
1,223 drugs developed since 1975, only 13 are for the treatment of
to neglected diseases
webplaced: October 10, 2000
When MSF was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1999, it announced that
the money would go towards raising awareness of and fighting against
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
One year later, the Access to Essential Medicines Campaign is a
fundamental aspect of MSF and has been
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
1999 Nobel Peace prize money goes to research for treating diseases of
These diseases are:
MSF announces how the 1999 Nobel Peace Prize money, which was used to
set up a Neglected Disease Fund, has been allocated.
press release: October 10, 2000 -
projects for the MSF neglected disease fund
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.
of access to esential drugs
The MSF campaign
MSF is conducting an international campaign to ensure that
disadvantaged populations have access to essential medicines.
role of Médecins Sans Frontières
MSF commitment to neglected diseases
declared in the Nobel Peace Prise speech MSF's commitment to
Access to Essential Medicines was first detailed in the 199 Nobel
Peace Prize acceptance speech
from the 1999|
Nobel Prize speech
The pillars of Access to Essential Medicines
Three factors play a dominant role in preventing access to essential
medicines in developing countries:
fight to improve access to essential medicines
Success for the Access Campaign
The MSF campaign has been able to raise awareness about the lack of
access - pharmaceutical companies, policy-makers and the media have
clearly begun to pay attention to the problem.
access to essential medicines