The London Family Planning summit has reportedly documented $5 billion in pledges to aid family planning services in developing nations, however, will the policies of the Trump administration hinder these efforts? On Tuesday, July 11, World Population Day was observed, with a timely theme: “Family Planning: Empowering People, Developing … [Read more...] about Mexico City Policy: Putting the US at odds with the EU?
The anti-vaccination movement tends to be thought of as an American phenomenon. Such views have a strong hold in Europe as well - and are posing an increasing challenge to public health across the continent. The movement is hampering progress towards elimination of the measles virus, says the World Health Organization (WHO) in a recent press … [Read more...] about Measles outbreaks in Europe: anti-vaccination movement to blame?
Swiss pharmaceutical company Roche is conducting consistent legal battles against smaller companies to dissuade them from entering the market of breast cancer medication reports The Wire. They claim that this has, in effect, granted Roche a monopoly over the biosimilars market, with an emphasis on the breast cancer medication trastuzumab. As a … [Read more...] about Biosimilars and the trastuzumab controversy
The first sentence of the official press release for the new UN report on access to medicines captures all the problems with the report, probably inadvertently. Here is the monster sentence Whether it’s the rising price of the EpiPen, or new outbreaks of diseases, like Ebola, Zika and yellow fever, the rising costs of health technologies … [Read more...] about Hype for UN’s report on access to medicines is confused and contradictory
Most industrialised countries use about nine percent of GDP for government health spending and about 11 percent of GDP for overall health spending (public and private combined). This chart from the World Bank (based on WHO data) shows the percentage of GDP spent by governments on health and this one the overall health spending. The … [Read more...] about The basics about spending on health around the world
No fashionable university is without its own department doing studies and advocacy on global health these days and NGOs and consultancies proliferate. Richard Horton and his team at The Lancet seem to produce ever more elaborate reports and commissions demanding an extra $30 billion here or $50 billion there. None of them tell you that funding for … [Read more...] about The failure of global health advocacy spelled out in numbers
One of my first experiences of a media witch hunt came in the late 1980s: the British media had decided that Ativan (lorazepam) caused addiction. The "withdrawal symptoms" were remarkably similar to the anxiety and panic attacks which benzodiazepines are designed to treat but Roger Cook, a swahbuckling tabloid TV journalist, did not allow this to … [Read more...] about A few brave psychiatrists speak out for #benzodiazepines
The current edition of Science contains a study that should terrify all of us who want to see universal access to health services. The rigorous randomised study showed, as the New York Times put it, that "newly insured people actually went to the emergency room a good deal more often" than those without insurance. As the Times goes on to … [Read more...] about Insurance increases use of emergency rooms says new randomised study
There's an unusually thoughtful piece in this week's Economist on the worldwide debates over medicines, patents and innovation. Unlike a lot of Economist reporting, it's not overly ideological. Maybe the most interesting point is in the whole article is this: "in part because health budgets are small, drugs often already account for a bigger … [Read more...] about “The new drug war”: The Economist predicts a long wait for access to medicines
If, like me, you travel a lot to India and Africa, I have good news: business class fares are going to stay low or even fall in 2014. This is thanks to generous subsidies from the governments of some of the countries with the highest burdens of disease in the world. This October 2013 article from CAPA, the Centre for Aviation, lists the $2.5 … [Read more...] about Business travellers matter more than sick people say developing country governments