The drug and vaccine landscape for neglected diseases (2000-11): a systematic assessment

Lancet Glob Health. 2013 Dec;1(6):e371-9. doi: 10.1016/S2214-109X(13)70078-0. Epub 2013 Oct 24.


Background: In 1975-99, only 1·1% of new therapeutic products had been developed for neglected diseases. Since then, several public and private initiatives have attempted to mitigate this imbalance. We analysed the research and development pipeline of drugs and vaccines for neglected diseases from 2000 to 2011.

Methods: We searched databases of drug regulatory authorities, WHO, and clinical trial registries for entries made between Jan 1, 2000, and Dec 31, 2011. We defined neglected diseases as malaria, tuberculosis, diarrhoeal diseases, neglected tropical diseases (NTDs; WHO definition), and other diseases of poverty according to common definitions.

Findings: Of the 850 new therapeutic products registered in 2000-11, 37 (4%) were indicated for neglected diseases, comprising 25 products with a new indication or formulation and eight vaccines or biological products. Only four new chemical entities were approved for neglected diseases (three for malaria, one for diarrhoeal disease), accounting for 1% of the 336 new chemical entities approved during the study period. Of 148,445 clinical trials registered in Dec 31, 2011, only 2016 (1%) were for neglected diseases.

Interpretation: Our findings show a persistent insufficiency in drug and vaccine development for neglected diseases. Nevertheless, these and other data show a slight improvement during the past 12 years in new therapeutics development and registration. However, for many neglected diseases, new therapeutic products urgently need to be developed and delivered to improve control and potentially achieve elimination.

Funding: None.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Clinical Trials as Topic / trends
  • Databases, Factual
  • Drug Approval / statistics & numerical data
  • Drug Discovery / trends
  • Dysentery / drug therapy
  • Dysentery / prevention & control*
  • Humans
  • Malaria / drug therapy
  • Malaria / prevention & control*
  • Neglected Diseases / drug therapy
  • Neglected Diseases / prevention & control*
  • Pharmaceutical Preparations*
  • Tropical Medicine
  • Tuberculosis / drug therapy
  • Tuberculosis / prevention & control*
  • Vaccines*


  • Pharmaceutical Preparations
  • Vaccines