Conservative MEP for the East of England, Vicky Ford, has tabled a formal question to the European Commission asking how it intends to continue vital funding for research into poverty related and neglected diseases (PRND's).
Mrs Ford is the Conservative spokesman on Industry and Research in the European Parliament. She has been reviewing the so called Horizon 2020 proposals for up to €80 billion to be spent on research and innovation over the next 7 years. The programme specifically mentions the importance of funding research into poverty related and neglected diseases, but it is not clear how this will be implemented. Mrs Ford recently met research experts who were concerned that existing funding for pre-trial drug development might be cut.
Mrs Ford's official question will now mean the European Commission has to formally explain how it intends to structure the funding for these diseases.
Mrs Ford said: "Poverty related diseases often miss out on research from commercial pharmaceutical companies and so scientists rely on international support such as from the EU. This group of diseases includes tuberculosis, which we know has been prevalent in developing countries for some time but is now on the rise in developed countries, including the UK. This is very concerning. It is important that early-stage drug development is not forgotten, and that we ensure that funding streams are allocated to support this vital work. There are areas where substantial savings should be made in the EU budget so that spending can be refocused on areas like research and innovation where international collaboration can really add value and make a difference. "
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