Funding for TB and Neglected Diseases Backslides

Statement from TB Alliance on the alarming trend of reduced funding for PDPs

January 31, 2024

NEW YORK (January 31, 2023)—The 2023 G-FINDER Report, released today, reveals that funding for neglected disease R&D fell by 10% from 2021 to 2022. In tuberculosis specifically, global investment fell to $702 million in 2022, from $772 million in 2021, with funding for TB drug research dipping by nearly 12%. The public affirmation of the United Nations (UN) member states of the goal to end tuberculosis (TB) by 2030 at the 2023 UN High-Level Meeting and committing to markedly increase levels of investment in TB control and research is clearly very much needed at this time.

G-FINDER reported that the drop in funding levels was largely a result of high inflation in 2022, as the absolute dollar decline was “only” 3%. The report highlights the impact of inflation on research funding. Even seemingly stable trends in research funding reflect real-world reductions in buying power, which limit product developers’ abilities to complete planned work and meet projected timelines. This is especially true in an environment like neglected disease product development that relies heavily on donor funding, which is often determined through multiyear agreements with fixed allotments based on estimated costs and almost invariably without inflation adjustments.

“Once again, we call on all nation states to make good on their commitments to fund research and development for TB and other neglected diseases that are responsible for the loss of millions of lives and the suffering of so many more,” said Mel Spigelman, MD, President and CEO of TB Alliance.

Also of concern is the trend of declining investment in product development partnerships (PDPs) for the research and development of innovations to address neglected diseases. Funding for PDPs in 2022 plunged more than $100 million from 2021, which was already a record low for PDP funding in the history of G-FINDER reporting. PDPs remain critical engines of innovation for neglected disease. The Keeping the Promise report notes that since 2010, PDPs have developed and introduced nearly 80 new neglected disease products.

Progress against TB—and all neglected diseases—research and development has persisted despite significantly larger funding challenges. The G-FINDER report shows that the overall R&D pipeline for neglected disease has grown by more than 50% since 2015. With the largest portfolio of new TB drug candidates in history and the first-ever non-profit to earn approval for a new TB drug, TB Alliance is both acutely aware of the scientific and humanitarian gains that can be achieved with the political will and accompanying adequate funding.