Medicine tariffs: how they cost lives

Richard Tren | 10 Aug 2006 | Business Day (South Africa)

A new study published by the American Enterprise Institute calls for an end to tariffs on medicines and to the corruption that often accompanies them.

Bill Gates must set priorities

Roger Bate | 03 Aug 2006 | Australian

With Warren Buffett's largesse added to his own, Bill Gates has about $60 billion to spend on health and development. How should he spend it? The Copenhagen Consensus, a group and process put together by Danish academic and world renowned sceptical environmentalist Bjorn Lomborg, answered this question last year. Experts on the best life-saving interventions in various fields reached a consensus on what provided the best bang for the buck if they were spending $50 billion. Their conclusions could be of use to Gates. Top of the list of value for money aid investments was combating HIV-AIDS. Improving nutrition, opening up trade, preventing malaria and improving clean water delivery were some of the next best interventions.

Much-maligned DDT has key role in battling malaria

Jasson Urbach | 10 Jul 2006 | Cape Times

As has been widely reported and commented upon, one of the best ways to control malaria and reduce the burden is to stop the deadly anopheles mosquitoes from biting humans. One of the most effective ways of doing that is to spray tiny quantities of the insecticide environmentalists love to hate, dichloro-diphenyl-trichloroethane (DDT), on the inside walls of houses in a process known as indoor residual spraying (IRS). DDT lasts for up to a year and primarily repels mosquitoes so that they won't even enter a sprayed house.

Taxed to Death

Roger Bate | 06 Jul 2006 | Foreign Policy

In recent years, the amount of aid for developing countries has increased, and the price of many drugs has fallen. So why does one third of the world's population still lack access to proper healthcare? To a large degree, the fault lies with the poor countries themselves. Many charge high tariffs on life-saving medicines and equipment, sometimes even taxing products that are donated for free. Foreign drug manufacturers must often jump through numerous bureaucratic hoops to get their products to those who need them most.

Arata Kochi: shaking up the malaria world

Sarah Boseley | 17 Jun 2006 | The Lancet

Dr. Arata Kochi, new head of the WHO's malaria control work, is making many positive changes to help the fight against malaria.

Sick at the World Bank

Amir Attaran & Roger Bate | 19 May 2006 | Examiner

The World Bank is failing miserably on malaria, like it failed on HIV/AIDS before. Although it has a $20 billion budget that, deployed intelligently, could lower sickness and accelerate economic growth, the World Bank is instead making a mess of its reputation and costing patients their lives through its unwise medical judgments. Along with 11 academic colleagues, we overcame stringent peer-review at the world's top medical journal, The Lancet, to publish what we describe here.

The World Bank and Disease Control: a Bad Combination

Roger Bate | 03 May 2006 | World Bank

For the lack of decent sanitation and health care thousands of the poorest children die unnecessarily every day. While their governments have primary responsibility for them, the international agencies, notably the World Health Organization (WHO) and World Bank, are not as effective at improving survival rates as they should be because they do not stick to their respective missions nor fulfill them. The WHO has disease expertise but poor management and has weakened its disease-control programs by becoming involved in health-care delivery. The Bank, with expertise in health systems development and health financing, has become involved in disease control where it has little institutional knowledge. The result of this bilateral mission creep is overlapping authority, lack of focus and accountability.

Sickening Incompetence

Philip Coticelli & Justin Schwab | 27 Apr 2006 | National Review Online

The World Bank is publishing inaccurate data to save face rather than face up to its failure to control malaria. Worse still, it is promoting ineffective treatments in India, resulting in the death of an unknown number of children. The Bank is incapable of disease control work and it should leave the field to more competent agencies.

Europe Hinders War on Malaria

Richard Tren | 24 Apr 2006 | Business Day (South Africa)

Another year has passed and Africa Malaria Day has come around again. Tomorrow, April 25, marks the day we are supposed to assess our successes and failures and renew the political will to tackle the disease.

A Trade Opportunity for China and America

Roger Bate & James Driscoll | 14 Apr 2006 | TCS Daily

Bush administration Commerce Secretary Carlos Gutierrez has warned that the US is running out of patience waiting for China to take effective steps to do its part to reduce the ballooning US$200+ billion trade deficit with China. Recently, the US, Switzerland, and Singapore proposed a small but highly constructive remedy China could implement immediately: eliminate tariffs on medicines and medical products. Chinese President Hu Jintao's visit to Washington DC next week affords President Bush a signal opportunity to call upon China to take this urgently needed action.