While wealthy nations pursue drugs to treat baldness and obesity, depression in dogs, and erectile dysfunction, elsewhere millions are sick or dying from preventable or treatable infectious and parasitic diseases.1 It's called the 10/90 gap. "Less than 10% of the worldwide expenditure on health research and development is devoted to the major health problems of 90% of the population," explains Els Torreele, co-chair of a working group that provided background recently for an initiative announced by Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF, or Doctors Without Borders) to fight the gap.

©Teru Kuwayama/MSF

Nicolas de Torrente

MSF's Drugs for Neglected Diseases initiative (DNDi) will address what MSF-USA executive director Nicolas De Torrente called "a fundamental mismatch, expressed as millions of lives lost each year, between human needs and scientific innovation." Planning began in 1999, when MSF gathered international experts to identify contributing social, political, economic, and technical factors, and to suggest...

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