British researchers said this week that the pharmaceutical industry is failing to develop new medications for pregnancy complications. Researchers Nick Fisk and Rifat Atun from Imperial College London found that only three drug patents for maternal health were created in 28 years, reports Reuters.
Fisk and Atun reviewed a database of drugs listed as under development on company Web sites, in medical journals, at conferences or in registered clinical trials. They found that since 1980, only three of the more than 37,000 drugs under development have been licensed for pregnant women, reports the Daily Women’s Health Policy Report.
Researchers claim that pharmaceutical companies have not been given adequate financial incentives to develop pregnancy-related drugs for the small market that is pregnant women. Fisk and Atun suggest either raising financial incentives, or using non-profit organizations to conduct research.
“The paucity of obstetric drugs impacts not only the resource-rich countries, but also affects the far greater disease burden in resource-poor countries,” wrote the London researchers, according to Reuters.