Ideas to Action:

Independent research for global prosperity

CGD in the News

November 6, 2018

China to set the bar high for new health technologies (BMJ)

By Tessa Richards

From the article:

How to reap the benefits of new technologies while keeping a tight rein on healthcare costs is a challenge all countries face, not least China. It spends a relatively modest 6.2% of GDP on health, but expenditure has been rising rapidly and is poised to soar further for its population of 1.39 billion is ageing and rates of non communicable disease increasing.

In response China has set up a new National Center for Medicine and Health Technology Assessment to inform decisions on which of the many new drugs, devices, and diagnostics coming on stream should be included in the country’s basket of care.

A reminder that countries’ health outcomes bear little relation to their health spend came from Kalipso Chalkidou, director of global health policy at the Center for Global Development. She also warned that “20 -40 % of expenditure on healthcare is wasted.” Countries must use health technology assessment as a policy tool to contain spending and drive more equitable care, she said. The evidence generated also helps negotiate prices and rules on reimbursement, and “China can lead the way here.”

Read the full article here.


October 22, 2018

The case against Jeff Bezos’s and Elon Musk’s Mars colonies to save humanity (Vox)

By Kelsey Piper 

From the article: 

Going to Mars might be a fun goal. But keeping us alive requires staying focused on Earth.

What I heard from all of them was that, while space colonization is exciting, more resources are needed for risk-mitigation efforts here on Earth.

Beckstead, the Open Philanthropy Project program officer, is focused on those. “Given that there are many risks it doesn’t protect us from very well, and given that it’s expensive and going to take a long time ... I see options that are an easier route to success,” said Beckstead.He did, however, want to make sure I knew that he thinks space exploration is a worthy human endeavor — just not particularly high on the list of ways to keep our species alive.

I took a look at the projects Beckstead has made grants to. Scientists at Rutgers Universityare studying the climate effects of nuclear war, hoping to create pressure towards safer nuclear policy by better understanding the devastation a war could cause. At UCLA’s School of Law, researchers are studying the international governance and cooperation implications of climate engineering. The Center for Global Development is looking at the Ebola crisis for takeaways about how we might manage a pandemic, and researchers at Oxford’s Future of Humanity Institute are studying international coordination on AI. 

Read the full article here

June 29, 2018

Health spending growth picks up across wealthy nations (Public Finance International)

By Simone Rensch

Health spending in advanced economies has grown by the fastest rate in seven years, OECD figures have revealed.

Spend within the OECD increased by 3.4% on average in 2016 and spending in 2017 is estimated to have grown by 2.5%, OECD data released on Thursday found.

This is the highest rate since 2009, although it is still below pre-crisis levels. As a share of gross domestic product, health spending accounted for 8.9% in 2016 and 2017 across the OECD.


Kalipso Chalkidou, director of global health policy at the Center for Global Development, told PF International that health spending figures only gave a partial picture of the effectiveness of health systems.

“Whether more spending on health is a positive development largely depends on the baseline and uses of this money,” she said.

Read the full story here.


June 19, 2018

Lack of investment contributes to India facing mass water shortage (Public Finance International)

Bad management and a lack of infrastructure investment are contributing to major water shortages and access problems in India, a think-tank has warned.

The report added that an average of 200,000 people die every year as a result of inadequate access to safe water. 

India’s sustainable water development has been slow in recent years and is “only going to get worse”, the report by government think-tank Niti Aayog stated.


Kalipso Chalkidou, director of global health policy at the Center for Global Development, told PF International: “Water, sanitation and hygiene at healthcare centres and at domestic settings are conditions for improving population health and achieving the vision of universal healthcare coverage.

Read the full article here.