Every day nearly 3,000 children die of malaria, 5,500 people die of tuberculosis and 8,000 die of AIDS. Reducing these global pandemics is Goal six of the Millennium Development Goals set by the world's governments in 2000. Goal one is to eradicate extreme poverty and hunger.
90% of the money spent on global health research is targeted at problems affecting only the richest 10% of the world's population.
Between 1975 and 2000 only 13 new drugs were developed for neglected tropical diseases.
The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, set up by the IT entrepreneur, has had a dramatic impact on neglected disease research. Its annual budget is more than one billion dollars, with 58% going to its Global Health initiative.
India, China and Brazil are home to rapidly expanding medical research industries which are using biotechnology to develop new and cheaper medicines and vaccines for the south. However, there are fears that as they develop they will switch focus to more lucrative global markets.
Only 1% of the international pharmaceutical industry's budget is devoted to new drugs for Africa.