The WHO document suggests that the implementation of Value Added Taxes (VAT) with a share of the revenue earmarked for the health sector, and health-specific taxes on large corporations could have medium to high fundraising potential and are likely pro-poor. Oxfam has suggested that if government leaders were to close tax loopholes that enable legal tax-dodging, some $189 billion could be raised in taxes internationally each year
For decades, policy makers have been using the same tools to combat tobacco consumption. It might be time to consider new approaches.
Healthcare is fundamental at all times, but especially during times of war. It is necessary for combating the spread of infectious diseases, for treating war-time injuries, and for helping the elderly, pregnant, and youth. An intermission of sickness does not exist during times of war; in fact, health issues are often amplified as people are [...]
Baby Janelle, a two-year old living outside Kampala, Uganda, falls sick with cough, vomiting and fever. Her single mother, a day laborer in the stone quarries, is forced to choose between taking Janelle to the health center – for which she must pay herself – and paying school fees for her other two children.
The debate over cost and access to drugs has long raged between patients, health advocates, and pharmaceutical companies. For patients with “orphan diseases,” or rare diseases which affect fewer than 200,000 people in the United States, this debate becomes particularly acute, as the Orphan Drug Act passed by Congress in 1983 threatens to drive up prices for highly specialized treatments. While the Orphan Drug Act has helped to bring drugs for rare diseases to millions of patients and continues to stimulate research and development of orphan drugs, the law is certainly not without its problems and caveats.
This past winter marked the ten-year anniversary of the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis, and Malaria, prompting reflection on the organization’s achievements since its inception in 2002. The Global Fund works to invest and allocate the world’s money to improve health outcomes. It was conceived as an emergency response to combat three of the major diseases that were in the process of devastating the developing world.
The bursting of the U.S. housing bubble in 2007 sent the global economy into a decline, eliciting budget cuts in public spending and significant decreases in voluntary contributions, particularly in the field of health. Although spending to improve health in the developing world has increased throughout the recession, the growth rate for this spending has leveled off. As countries like the United States reduce their health aid overseas, other organizations and must work harder to fight the economic effects of the financial crisis.
Pharmaceutical companies, or what critics call “big pharma,” are often condemned for charging prices above marginal cost and price discriminating between different countries (calculating each country’s ability to pay). These practices lie at the heart of feuds such as compulsory licensing, a strategy employed by countries to obtain generic drugs. However, the economics of price discrimination demands a closer look.
Imagine addressing HIV/AIDS, malaria, and diarrhea in a single intervention. Policymakers would be pleased at having integrated services in health plans and, more importantly, patients would receive well-rounded health care provisions. In fact, a recent study in Kenya has done just this, proving to the global health community that this is a better approach to health interventions within a country.