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Government-Controlled Research and Development - A recipe for disaster  - Richard Tren & Roger Bate
The proposed research and development (R&D;) treaty being discussed at the World Health Assembly during the week of May 22 could end up harming those it aims to assist. Public-private partnerships, which are already delivering drugs and treatments and showing promise in vaccine development, offer a far better model to address diseases. Greater state and bureaucratic control of R&D; will not deliver results, especially given the need to deploy unique private-sector testing and development facilities. A range of market-friendly proposals to encourage research is likely to deliver practical solutions.


The World Bank: false financial and statistical accounts and medical malpractice in malaria treatment  - Amir Attaran et al
Amir Attaran & malaria experts & health policy commentators, including Africa Fighting Malaria's Roger Bate criticise the World Bank's failures in malaria control.

Still Taxed to Death: An Analysis of Taxes and Tariffs on Medicines, Vaccines and Medical Devices  - Roger Bate, Richard Tren & Jasson Urbach
Bate, Tren & Urbach update their working paper on taxes and tariffs on medicines and medical devices - published by the AEI-Brookings Joint Centre.

The WTO and Access to Essential Medicines: Recent Agreements , New Assignments  - Dr Roger Bate & Richard Tren
Roger Bate and Richard Tren discuss the recent WTO agreement on TRIPS and public health and recommend that the WTO now turn its attention towards removing import tariffs on medicines and medical devices, which have been shown to reduce access to medicines and medical care.

Brazil's AIDS Program - A Costly Success  - Richard Tren & Roger Bate
Richard Tren & Roger Bate comment on Brazil's AIDS Treatment program which has achieved some notable successes, but potentially reduces research into new AIDS medicines and could result in large long term costs down the line.

AFM testimony to the US Senate Committee on Environment & Public Works  - Roger Bate & Richard Tren
Download the testimony given by AFM's Roger Bate and Richard Tren to the US Senate's Committee on Environment and Public Works. The hearing, chaired by Sen. Inhofe (R, OK) was set up to look at the role of science and environmental policy - what better case study than DDT?

An Immesurable Crisis? A Criticism of the Millennium Development Goals and Why They Cannot Be Measured  - Prof. Amir Attaran
Prof. Amir Attaran evaluates the Millennium Development Goals and criticises them for being unmeasurable and therefore largely meaningless. He also criticises the UN for failing to discuss the measurement of these goals at the September 2005 UN meeting on the MDGs.

State in Fear - Zimbabwe's Tragedy is Africa's Shame  - Archbishop Pius Ncube, Dr Roger Bate & Richard Tren
Catholic Archbishop of Bulawayo Pius Ncube, Dr Roger Bate and Richard Tren report on the horrific abuses of human rights by Mugabe's police and military. The authors call on the G8 leaders to exert pressure on African leaders, such as President Mbeki, to condemn Mugabe's regime and support the return of peace and democracy in Zimbabwe.

AFM's Comment on the WHA Malaria Resolution  - AFM
The World Health Assembly recently passed a resolution on malaria control. The WHO and UNICEF also recently published their World Malaria Report. AFM comments here on some aspects of the resolution and report.

Senate Hearings on USAID  -
The Senate Hearings on USAID's involvement in malaria control led to significant challenges to the agency's activities. Download the testimonies from USAID, Senator Sam Brownback, Professor Amir Attaran and AFM's Dr Roger Bate here.

Eliminate Neglected Diseases Act of 2005  -
Senator Sam Brownback's Eliminate Neglected Diseases Act of 2005 has been dropped in the US Senate. Read the Act and supporting documents here.

Taxed to Death  - Roger Bate, Richard Tren and Jasson Urbach
AFM publishes a working paper on the degree to which import tariffs, taxes and bureaucratic procedures block access to essential medicines in poor countries. See the latest version of this ongoing study here.

Despotism & Disease  - Richard Tren & Roger Bate
Africa Fighting Malaria report on the destruction of the Zimbabwean healthcare sector and the probable impacts on the entire region. Download the pdf version of this report here.

Ugandan Study Highlights Best Drug Combinations for Treating Malaria in Africa  - The Lancet
Results of a randomised trial from Uganda in this week’s issue of THE LANCET suggest that the drug combination of amodiaquine and sulfadoxine-pyrimethamine might offer the optimal treatment for malaria in terms of efficacy and cost-effectiveness in this region. The study also shows that the drug combination of chloroquine and sulfadoxine-pyrimethamine—the recommended first-line treatment in Uganda—is far less effective than other drug combinations.

Climate Change and Malaria  - Indur Goklany - with response from Sir David King
Indur Goklany offers some fascinating insights into climate change, malaria, poverty and development. Sir David King, the UK Government's chief scientific adviser gives a predicable response.

The Real Obstacles to Sound Treatment of AIDS in Poor Countries  - Roger Bate & Richard Tren
Writing for the American Enterprise Institute's Health Policy Outlook, Bate and Tren explore some of the reasons for low drug access in poor countries. Despite promises of cheap or free antiretroviral drugs, Bate and Tren argue that access to treatment in poor countries is abysmally low because of a lack of infrastructure, political indifference, excessive bureaucracy and taxes and tariffs.

South Africa's War Against Malaria - Lessons for the Developing World  - Richard Tren & Roger Bate
The Cato Institute published Richard Tren and Roger Bate's analysis of South Africa's recent history with malaria control. They argue that its policy on DDT use and Artemesinin based combination therapy provide excellent examples for other malarial countries.

SA's Leading Malaria Researchers Support DDT Use  -
South Africa’s leading malaria control experts, researchers and doctors support and endorse the use of the insecticide DDT to control malaria. Their statement is released in light of recent claims that DDT is harmful to human health and should be removed from South Africa’s malaria control programme.

South African Malaria Data  - SA Dept of Health
November 2003 - the malaria statistics show that malaria is still well under control in South Africa. A recent epidemic in the Limpopo Province was primarily caused by late spraying and poor case management.

South Africa Malaria Data  - SA Dept of Health
The latest data on malaria cases and deaths from South Africa show that the country's policy of indoor residual spraying with DDT (among other insecticides) and the use of artemesinin based combination therapy is working. KwaZulu Natal, traditionally the province with the worst malaria and the centre of the recent epidemic has only recorded 1 malaria death this year!

South Africa Malaria Statistics  - Dept of Health
The 11th Dept of Health Malaria Update shows the latest number of confirmed cases and deaths from malaria in the three malarial provinces of South Africa.

Saving Lives Today and Tomorrow  - Dr. Roger Bate
This paper analyses trends in drug development using data from the drug industry association, the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA). Worryingly, the findings suggest that far fewer AIDS drugs are in development compared to several years ago, and at a time when drug development for other communicable diseases is increasing. There are several probable explanations for this phenomenon, but the least benign is the likelihood that continual pressure group and media attacks on the industry over pricing of drugs in Africa has reduced incentives for development of new AIDS medicines

South African Malaria Update  - SA Dept of Health
The latest malaria update from the Directorate of Communicable Diseases.

Written Testimony of Roger Bate[1] and Richard Tren[2] to the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee hearing on the role of science in environmental policy making, Wednesday 28th September, 2005, Room 406 of the Dirksen Senate Office Building.

Dear Mr. Chairman,

Thank you for inviting Africa Fighting Malaria to submit written testimony to this most valuable hearing. Africa Fighting Malaria is a health advocacy group based in South Africa and the US. We monitor the activities of aid agencies and health groups in Africa, and in other parts of the world, and advise those interested in policies to combat malaria and other diseases.

Executive Summary

This committee seeks to understand the influence of science in public policy and consequences of the misuse of that science in such policy. There can be few more compelling and tragic examples of the abuse of science and misuse in ongoing public policy than that of DDT and public health.

DDT helped eradicate malaria from Europe and the United States in the 1950s, and was used to eradicate malaria in many other countries in the following two decades. It is still used widely in at least a dozen countries (perhaps as many as two dozen), but these countries have been discouraged by virtually all United Nations organizations, donor agencies and commercial interests.

DDT is safe for human use and there has never been a peer-reviewed replicated study showing any human harm from the chemical, even though billions have been exposed to it (hundreds of millions in moderate to high doses). Its bioaccumulation and persistence in the environment have caused far less harm than is commonly believed. But small problems did occur when massive amounts were used in farming, and today, quite correctly, it is used solely in disease control where tiny amounts are used. But some environmental groups continue to conflate tiny vital use in disease control with massive and potentially dangerous use in agriculture. These groups have sustained pressure against its use for over three decades with disastrous results. Today, their mistaken rhetoric is repeated by aid agencies around the world.

The UN’s World Health Organization has dithered and although not rhetorically opposed to DDT has purchased none in recent years. The malaria program of the United States Agency for International Development has been the subject of other Senate hearings for failure to use DDT, or even to make significant purchases of any useful commodities. Very recently a senior manager within the German corporation, Bayer Crop Sciences, has gone on record supporting EU threats of trade sanctions against those countries that seek to use DDT solely for malaria control.

Ultimately it is poor children in Africa that pay for these policy failures, based on abused science. As President Bush has announced a massive increase in federal funds for malaria control, we urge the US Government to insist that years of scaremongering and bad science be reversed and to take a strong stance against the EU and Bayer Crop Sciences.

Download the full testimony by clicking here (word document)



[1] US Director Africa Fighting Malaria, Resident Fellow American Enterprise Institute.

[2] South African Director, Africa Fighting Malaria.