A new World Bank plan for Africa aims to expand economies and increase job growth, “while also tackling problems of climate change, disease, food shortages and conflict,” Reuters reports (Wroughton, 3/3). The approach, which was endorsed by the bank’s board of executive directors on Tuesday, “shifts from a more general focus” aimed at improving economic stability and fundamentals to targeting “three key areas such as competitiveness and employment,” Xinhua writes (Mutai, 3/2).
Private Sector Involvement
Canadian House Of Commons Passes Bill That Could Ease Access To Generic Drugs In Developing Countries
Canadian lawmakers in the country’s House of Commons on Wednesday “approved a bill aiming to ease the process that lets generic drug manufacturers produce patented medicines for export to poor nations at cheaper prices in a move the pharmaceutical industry says could undermine intellectual property rights,” Bloomberg reports (Argitis, 3/10).
In two posts, Devex’s “Impact” blog examines the role of the private sector in global health initiatives. In one post, “Impact” interviews Ariel Pablos-Méndez, assistant administrator for global health at USAID. According to the interview transcript, Pablos-Méndez discusses “the benefits of public-private partnerships,” highlights “USAID’s efforts to promote girls and…
“India has denied claims that it has exported large quantities of counterfeit medication to Africa, after the Guardian published a front-page exposÃ© on the phenomenon,” the Guardian reports in a follow-up article. The original article “cited experts and NGO reports as saying that up to a third of anti-malarial drugs in Uganda and Tanzania might be fake or substandard, and the majority of them were manufactured in China and India,” the newspaper writes, adding, “The fake medications have led to deaths, prolonged illness and increased drug resistance in parts of east Africa, the article said.” According to the Guardian, “The Indian health ministry launched a huge campaign last month to check the quality of medication manufactured across the country.” In addition, “Chinese officials also denied the charges made in the report,” the newspaper notes, citing another article published on December 28 (Burke, 1/2).
Leslie Mancuso, president and CEO of Jhpeigo, discusses public-private partnerships in the InterAction blog. “The Obama administration has recognized the importance of these relationships in the past, and we applaud any effort by the president to incentivize programming that brings together the best of the public and private sectors and…
“At the Inter-American Development Bank’s (IDB) recent annual meeting in Panama, the two richest men in the world” — Mexican businessman and philanthropist Carlos Slim and Bill Gates, co-chair of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation – “discussed their contributions to a little-known public-private partnership that aims to improve the…
The Global Health Technologies Coalition’s (GHTC) “Breakthroughs” blog reports on the Consortium of Universities for Global Health (CUGH) annual conference held last week, highlighting “a panel hosted by the GHTC, which focused on current fiscal and policy realities in the United States that will impact global health research and development…
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s approval of the tuberculosis (TB) drug Sirturo, also known as bedaquiline, “appears to be just the first step in an exciting renaissance for TB drug development,” Mark Harrington, executive director of Treatment Action Group (TAG), writes in the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation’s “Impatient Optimists” blog. “Another new drug, delamanid, is currently in late clinical trials and has been submitted to the European Medicines Agency for review as a treatment for [multidrug-resistant (MDR)] TB,” he notes. Harrington concludes, “It’s an exciting time for TB treatment, but much more needs to be done and more resources are needed. We need to focus not only on the discovery and development of new drugs, but also on ensuring that news drugs are delivered to those who need them and in combinations that can prevent the emergence of new types of drug resistance” (12/28).
“The U.S. Food and Drug Administration [on Monday] approved Johnson & Johnson’s drug to treat a form of resistant tuberculosis that is uncommon in the U.S. but growing globally,” the Wall Street Journal reports. “The drug, Sirturo, will treat patients with multidrug-resistant tuberculosis, or MDR-TB, a possibly fatal disease that affects as many as 630,000 people worldwide who can’t be cured with existing therapies alone,” the newspaper notes (Walker/Tadena, 1/2).
Thai Health Advocates Work To Protect Special Provisions On Medicines Under E.U. Free Trade Agreement
Thailand and the European Union (E.U.) are expected to begin talks on a free trade agreement early this year, and Thai public health advocates have sent a letter to Joao Aguiar Machado, deputy director general for trade at the European Commission, “call[ing] for the bloc to respect global trade rules’ special provisions for developing countries,” Inter Press Service reports. “‘We are worried that the E.U. negotiators will force Thailand to accept new conditions on patents that would make access to new generic drugs more difficult,’ says Chalermsak Kittitrakul, campaign officer at the AIDS Access Foundation,” the news service writes, adding, “Thai health activists are hoping that their record of mounting successful campaigns against pharmaceutical giants — even from the United States — to ensure a thriving generic drugs market for patients in the country and across the region remains intact” (Macan-Markar, 12/29).