The German government's global health strategy - a strategy also to support research and development

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Neglected tropical infectious diseases as well as rare diseases are characterized by structural research and development (R&D) deficits. The market fails for these disease groups. Consequently, to meet public health and individual patient needs, political decision makers have to develop strategies at national and international levels to make up for this R&D deficit. The German government recently published its first global health strategy. The strategy underlines the German government's commitment to strengthening global health governance. We find, however, that the strategy lacks behind the international public health endeavors for neglected diseases. It fails to make reference to the ongoing debate on a global health agreement. Neither does it outline a comprehensive national strategy to promote R&D into neglected diseases, which would integrate existing R&D activities in Germany and link up to the international debate on sustainable, needs-based R&D and affordable access. This despite the fact that only recently, in a consensus-building process, a National Plan of Action for rare diseases was successfully developed in Germany which could serve as a blueprint for a similar course of action for neglected diseases. We recommend that, without delay, a structured process be initiated in Germany to explore all options to promote R&D for neglected diseases, including a global health agreement.




Fehr, A., & Razum, O. (2014). The German government’s global health strategy - a strategy also to support research and development. Global Health Action, 7(1), 1–3.

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