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Global Health Policy Blog

CGD experts blog on global health issues such as health financing, drug resistance, clinical trials, vaccine development, HIV/AIDS, and health-related foreign assistance.


The Importance of Global Health Investment

One of the things I am proudest of having done in Washington was having the idea as Chief Economist of the World Bank that the Bank should devote its annual World Development Report to making the case for improving both the quantity and quality of global health investment.

The 5000% Price Increase and the Economic Case for Pharma Price Regulation

You’ve probably already heard about the pharma outrage du jour. In short: start-up Turing Pharmaceuticals, led by combative ex-hedge fund manager Martin Shkreli, recently acquired Daraprim, a 60+ year-old drug to treat a parasitic infection called toxoplasmosis – the only available treatment for this rare infection – which can become deadly for HIV+ individuals and others with weakened immune systems. Turing then promptly raised the price by more than 5000%, from $13.50 to $750 per tablet, such that a single individual’s treatment can now cost up to $634,000.

The World Bank Keeps Missing Opportunities to Save Lives and Mobilize Domestic Revenues

I have argued that tobacco taxes are the single best health policy that any country could implement. The World Bank is the most prominent organization in the world with the skills, mandate, and network to support raising tobacco taxes in developing countries where the number of smokers and shortened lives is increasing every year. Yet, the World Bank has committed far too little to this effort. One of the key reasons is that World Bank management has let this best-buy for development fall between the cracks – tobacco is a health issue and taxes are a fiscal policy issue.

An Insider’s Perspective on Delivering a DIB

No one said creating development impact bonds (DIB) was going to be easy, but that hasn’t stopped the development community from trying to get them off the ground. The Fred Hollows Foundation, based in Australia, has been hard at work on a DIB to address cataract blindness in Africa. As the Foundation attracts partners to help fund and implement a pilot of the cataract bond, Dr. Lachlan McDonald, the Foundation’s senior health economist, and Alex Rankin, their Global Lead for Policy, Advocacy & Research, shared some lessons learned so far. With Lachlan and Alex’s permission, we’re turning some of those lessons over to you – we hope they’re useful to others seeking to move ahead with their own DIB.

You Ask, We Answer: What Would US Global Health Reform Really Look Like?

As we gear up for the 2016 election, we’re thinking critically about how the next US president can increase the impact and efficiency of America’s taxpayer-funded global health investments. The US lacks a government-wide strategy on global health engagement, and it shows—most recently in the slow and messy response to the Ebola crisis. But we think it doesn’t have to be this way.

Feedback Loops for Health Data: Learning from Users to Inform Investments

Interest in the creation and use of citizen report cards (CRCs) is growing in many low- and middle-income countries. Bangalore has measured and reported citizens’ satisfaction with government agencies to the media; Kenya’s three largest cities have gauged citizens’ access to and use of waste management services; and townships in Myanmar have used CRCs to gather feedback on their provision of health and education services. Interest in social accountability tools is even echoed by officials at the highest levels. At a June summit on measurement and accountability in health, the World Bank, USAID, and WHO agreed to push for the increased use of citizen and community led reviews at every level of service and governance.




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