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U.S., China Announce Public-Private Health Care Partnership

In conjunction with the state visit to the U.S. by Chinese President Hu Jintao, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and several other federal agencies on Wednesday announced a new public-private health care partnership between the U.S. and China, Modern Healthcare reports (Blesch, 1/19).

RTS,S Offers 46 Percent Protection Against Malaria For At Least 15 Months After Vaccination, Study Finds

A Phase II trial published Friday in Lancet Infectious Diseases has shown that RTS,S, the “experimental malaria vaccine from GlaxoSmithKline provides African children with long-lasting protection” against malaria, Reuters reports. “Scientists conducting the mid-stage trial at the Kenya Medical Research Institute said results showing the shot offered 46 percent protection for 15 months meant it had ‘promise as a potential public health intervention against childhood malaria in malaria endemic countries’,” the news service notes (Kelland, 1/14).

Recent Releases

‘Ethical Issues Raised By PrEP Are Difficult, But Not Insurmountable': “The AIDS movement is at a pivotal point in history, where it will face scrutiny not only to demonstrate that interventions are cost-effective and equitably distributed, but also to balance resource demands with other global health imperatives, such as maternal/child…

Also In Global Health News: NGOs, Business Schools; India’s Growing Presence In Africa; Water, Sanitation In Indonesia; Malaria Vaccine Trials

Financial Times Reports On Oxfam’s MBA Workshops Financial Times explores how the NGO Oxfam has started to “develop ethical trade workshops for MBA students in UK business schools, with a particular focus on overseas students” in the “hopes that by targeting the next generation of business leaders, it can influence…

Lancet World Report Examines Health Risks Associated With Inaccurate TB Tests, WHO’s Upcoming Recommendations

With “scores of commercial serology tests for tuberculosis … being sold in high-burden countries,” the “WHO is due to release a negative policy recommendation – the first of its kind for the organisation” – after several reviews have “indicated poor performance of these tests,” Lancet World Report writes in a piece that documents the health risks associated with a growing number of inaccurate TB tests. However, “[m]anufacturers continue to claim that their tests are effective and fill a diagnostic niche, especially in sputum smear-negative patient groups,” the journal notes.

New York Times Reports On Rise, Fall Of Microloans In Developing Countries

The New York Times reports on how microlending has “prompted political hostility in Bangladesh, India, Nicaragua and other developing countries.” Such negativity “toward microfinance is a sharp reversal from the praise and good will that politicians, social workers and bankers showered on the sector in the last decade.” The article notes “[p]hilanthropists and investors poured billions of dollars into nonprofit and profit-making microlenders, who were considered vital players” in helping to achieve the U.N. Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), including the MDG target to halve extreme poverty by 2015. Such attention “helped the sector reach more than 91 million customers, most of them women, with loans totaling more than $70 billion by the end of 2009,” with half of all borrowers from India and Bangladesh.

Indian Drugmaker Seeks To Make, Sell Generic Version Of Pfizer’s HIV Drug

The Indian drugmaker Natco Pharma “said Wednesday it has informed Pfizer Inc. that it wants to make and sell a low-cost generic version of the U.S. company’s [drug] maraviroc for treating the HIV infection under a so-called ‘compulsory license’ [CL],” Dow Jones Newswires/Smart Money reports. “Natco Pharma’s move is significant because, if successful, the Indian generic drug maker will set a precedent for other Indian companies to override multinational drug makers’ patents for the treatments of diseases ranging from cancer to hypertension,” according to the new service.

Indian Government Rejects Abbott’s Patent Application For Second-Line ARV

India’s patent office “has rejected American drug maker Abbott Laboratories’ patent application for an HIV combination drug, allowing low-cost local drug makers to make and sell their generic versions in India and other countries where the medicine is not patented,” Economic Times reports (1/4). The drug under consideration was Abbott’s “Kaletra, which combines two antivirals, [lopinavir/ritonavir and] is one of the preferred second-line treatments to fight drug-resistant HIV, according to the World Health Organization, which recommends governments include it on their list of essential medicines,” Bloomberg/Businessweek writes (Narayan, 1/4).

Newsweek Reports On Growth Of Safety Net Programs In Developing Countries

“[A] recent study by the World Health Organization and the International Labor Organization identified 72 different ‘social pension’ plans around the world dedicated to the elderly, the ill, or the down and out,” Newsweek writes in an article exploring the growth in welfare programs around the world. “Most countries on the [WHO/ILO] list are developing nations once considered too destitute to help their poor and that, until recently, had little or no welfare coverage at all. … While fighting inequality and helping the neediest has long been on the docket of Third World leaders, most previous attempts have been sabotaged by inefficiency, corruption, and stagnant or dysfunctional economies,” the magazine writes. “Now roaring economies in Asia, Latin America, and even Africa, coupled with better-functioning governments and sound fiscal stewardship, have stretched the policy horizons for many nations that once lived from one crisis to the next,” according to Newsweek.