image

Thomas J. Bollyky

Senior Fellow for Global Health, Economics, and Development

Expertise

Global health, international trade and investment, and international law, regulatory policy, and intellectual property.

Programs

Global Health Program , Maurice R. Greenberg Center for Geoeconomic Studies , Program on Science and Technology

Bio

Thomas J. Bollyky is senior fellow for global health, economics, and development at the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR). He is also an adjunct professor of law at Georgetown University and consultant to the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.

Prior to coming to CFR, Mr. Bollyky was a fellow at the Center for Global Development and director of intellectual property and pharmaceutical policy at the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR), where he led the negotiations for pharmaceuticals, biotechnology, and medical technologies in the U.S.-Republic of Korea Free Trade Agreement and represented USTR in the negotiations with China on the safety of food and drug imports. He was also a Fulbright scholar to South Africa, where he worked as a staff attorney at the AIDS Law Project on treatment access issues related to HIV/AIDS, and an attorney at Debevoise & Plimpton LLP, where he represented Mexico before the International Court of Justice in Avena and other Mexican Nationals (Mexico v. United States of America)and José Ernesto Medellín before the U.S. Supreme Court in Medellin v. Dretke. Mr. Bollyky is a former law clerk to Chief Judge Edward R. Korman, an international affairs fellow at CFR, and a health policy analyst through the Outstanding Scholar Program at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

Mr. Bollyky has testified before the U.S. Senate on international regulatory issues in global health, and his most recent work has appeared in The New York Times, Science, Foreign Affairs, Journal of the American Medical Association, the Atlantic, and the Stanford Journal for Law, Science & Policy. Mr. Bollyky has been asked to serve in a variety of capacities at the National Academy of Sciences' Institute of Medicine (IOM), including as co-chair of the IOM workshop on international regulatory harmonization amid globalization and as a member of the IOM committee for strengthening food and drug regulation in developing countries. He is a member of the advisory committee for the Clinton Global Initiative and has served as a temporary legal adviser to the World Health Organization. In 2013, the World Economic Forum honored Mr. Bollyky as a Young Global Leader.

Mr. Bollyky received his BA in biology and history at Columbia University and his JD at Stanford Law School, where he was the president of the Stanford Law & Policy Review. He is a member of the New York and U.S. Supreme Court bars and the American Society of International Law.

Languages:

Hungarian (proficient)

A New Agenda for Changing Global Health Needs

Global health is in transition. As the Ebola outbreak in West Africa demonstrates, the exotic parasites, bacterial blights, and infectious diseases that have long occupied international health initiatives remain important, but these health threats are declining in most countries and in every region of the world. That is good news, but this epidemiological transition is not yielding the demographic and economic benefits that accompanied that transition in wealthier countries. Cancers, heart disease, and noncommunicable diseases are increasing in prevalence faster, arising in young and poor populations, and having worse outcomes than seen in wealthy nations. Changes in global trade, urbanization, and the still nascent regulatory and health care systems in emerging economies have also put a new set of health challenges—from food insecurity, antibiotic resistance, and environmental pollution to road safety, tobacco use, and substandard medicines—on the agenda for policymakers, businesses, and local communities. My research examines the strategic, economic, and humanitarian objectives that underlie U.S. and international priorities and investments in global health and how to ensure their continued effectiveness in the face of the world's changing health needs. As part of this work, I direct CFR's Independent Taskforce on Noncommunicable Diseases and the Global Health, Economics, and Development Roundtable Series.

Better Regulation for Freer Trade

Changes in the way the world trades have increased the importance of regulation in international commerce. Fewer goods and services originate "from" any one place or any one supplier, but rather consist of components and tasks from multiple suppliers scattered across several countries. Consistent, adequate, and predictable regulation is essential to the success of these global supply chains, but remains elusive. Without international coordination, national regulations and private standards have proliferated. The resulting chaos has done little to promote exports or effective regulatory oversight. Uncoordinated regulations challenge multinational corporations and small- and medium-sized businesses alike and keep developing country goods from entering new markets. Given the scale and complexity of global supply chains, the adequacy of health, safety, and environmental regulation in one country increasingly depends on the adequacy and consistency of those regulations in other countries. In this environment, trade negotiators and regulators need one another, but have struggled to develop the arrangements that can foster the necessary cooperation. My work examines the changing role of regulation in international commerce, its implications for international trade initiatives and institutions, and strategies and approaches that can promote better regulatory cooperation for freer trade.

Featured Publications

All Publications

Op-Ed

The Global Grip of Cigarette Smoking

Author: Thomas J. Bollyky
Los Angeles Times

Thomas Bollyky examines the 50th anniversary of the U.S. Surgeon General's report on the dangers of tobacco, its ensuing achievements, and steps the United States can take in addressing tobacco control in developing countries.

See more in Global; Health

Article

From HIV to NCDs: Will Patent Fights Again Spur Better Treatment Access?

Author: Thomas J. Bollyky
PLoS Medicine

Thomas Bollyky describes the crisis emerging over access to treatment for diabetes, cancers, and other non-communicable diseases (NCDs). Bollyky argues that this crisis could transform the global response to NCDs as the last treatment access crisis transformed the international approach to HIV/AIDS.

See more in Health; Diseases, Noncommunicable; Health Policy and Initiatives; Global

Ask CFR Experts

What should the United States and others do to mitigate or address the health consequences of climate change?

Asked by Lindsey Wahlstrom, from Columbia University

Climate change has both direct and indirect health consequences. Direct consequences include those resulting from high temperatures and severe weather events; while indirect ones arise from changing air and water quality and ecological shifts that favor tropical diseases and parasites.

Read full answer

See more in United States; Climate Change; Health

Article Authors: Thomas J. Bollyky and Paul L. Bollyky
Science

Thomas Bollyky assesses President Obama's record in promoting international science in the latest issue of Science. The president has made strides in integrating science into U.S. diplomacy and international development activities, but only modest progress on facilitating the day-to-day scientific exchanges that account for most international research.

See more in United States; Technology and Science

Events

CFR Events

Roundtable Meeting

Is there a Seat at the Table for the Food & Beverage Industry in the Global Fight against Obesity?

Speakers:

Kelly Brownell, Director, Rudd Center for Food Policy & Obesity, Yale University, Derek Yach, Senior Vice President; Member, Vitality Group; PepsiCo Scientific Advisory Board

Presider:

Thomas J. Bollyky, Senior Fellow for Global Health, Economics, and Development, Council on Foreign Relations
November 30, 2012

This meeting is on the record.

Listen

Academic Conference Call

Noncommunicable Diseases in the Developing World

Speaker:

Thomas J. Bollyky, Senior Fellow for Global Health, Economics, and Development, Council on Foreign Relations
October 25, 2012 12:00-1:00 p.m. - (ET)

This meeting is on the record.

Listen

Roundtable Meeting ⁄ New York

Scalable Strategies for Non-Communicable Diseases in Developing Countries

Speakers:

James Habyarimana, Associate Professor, Georgetown University, Matthew L. Myers, President, Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, Bernhard Weigl, Director, Center for Point of Care Diagnostics for Global Health, PATH

Presider:

Thomas J. Bollyky, Senior Fellow for Global Health, Economics, and Development, Council on Foreign Relations
September 10, 2012

This meeting is on the record.

ListenWatch

Roundtable Meeting

The Tobacco Wars: International Trade Disputes and Tobacco Control

Speakers:

The Honorable Carlos Gianelli Derois, Ambassador of the Oriental Republic of Uruguay to the United States, Joshua Sharfstein, Former Principal Deputy Commissioner, U.S. Food & Drug Administration

Presider:

Thomas J. Bollyky, Senior Fellow for Global Health, Economics, and Development, Council on Foreign Relations
June 21, 2012

This meeting is on the record.

ListenWatch

Press/Panels

Article

Head of World Bank Makes Ebola His Mission

In an interview with the New York Times, Thomas Bollyky discusses the record of Dr. Jim Yong Kim, World Bank president, on institutional reform and addressing the Ebola outbreak in West Africa.

Article

Want Better Medicines? Demand Better Safety Surveillance

Dr. Trevor Mundel, president of global health at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation (BMGF), discusses Thomas Bollyky's new BMGF report on improving the monitoring of drug and vaccine safety in developing countries.

Video Interview

Political Tensions and Trade in East Asia

Thomas Bollyky discusses China's Air Defense Identification Zone in the East China Sea and its potential impact on regional trade in an interview with CCTV America.

Watch

Article

Hard Pills to Swallow

In an interview with the Economist, Thomas Bollyky comments on the pharmaceutical industry's need to provide affordable treatment to protect its intellectual property system.

Article

Tobacco Firms’ Tactics Limit Poorer Nations’ Smoking Laws

In an interview with the New York Times, Thomas Bollyky comments on the difficulties countries experience in implementing tobacco control measures when faced with legal action by international tobacco companies to stop such measures.

Article

Syria: Global Coalition of Doctors Calls for Medical and Humanitarian Access

The Lancet republished an open letter by Gro Harlem Brundtland, former Director-General of the World Health Organization and former Prime Minister of Norway, Harald zur Hausen, winner of the 2008 Nobel Prize in Medicine, and fifty other eminent physicians that calls for medical and humanitarian access to Syria, citing research by Thomas Bollyky.

Article

India Spurns Cancer Patents

Thomas Bollyky comments on the difficulties surrounding noncommunicable disease treatment-access in low- and middle-income countries in an interview with Nature.

Video Interview

Get Rich, Get Sick

In an interview with HuffPost Live, Thomas Bollyky explains the rise of diabetes and other noncommunicable diseases in low- and middle-income countries and potential prevention methods.

Watch

Article

The Next "Pharmageddon"

Newsweek's Daily Beast highlights Thomas Bollyky's latest policy innovation memorandum on access to medicines and noncommunicable diseases, "Preventing Pharmageddon: Treatment Access for Noncommunicable Diseases."

Article

EU-US Partnership: New Rules for a New Era

U.S. Representative Charles B. Rangel, ranking member of the Subcommittee on Trade on the House Ways and Means Committee, cites Thomas Bollyky's CFR policy innovation memorandum, Better Regulation for Freer Trade, and its regulatory applications in upcoming trade negoations with the United States and European Union in The Hill.

Radio Interview

Noncommunicable Disease Threats

Thomas Bollyky discusses findings from the Global Burden of Disease Study 2010 and the rapid rise of noncommunicable diseases in low- and middle-income countries on the radio program "For Your Ears Only."

Listen

Article

Can Big Food Kick Its Obesity Habit? Does It Really Want To?

National Public Radio's "The Salt" blog covers Thomas Bollyky's global obesity debate, "Is There a Seat at the Table for the Food and Beverage Industry in the Global Fight Against Obesity," featuring Drs. Kelly Brownell, Director of Yale University's Rudd Center for Food Policy and Obesity, and Derek Yach, Senior Vice President, Vitality Group, and Member, PepsiCo Scientific Advisory Board.

Listen

Article

CDC Chief Would Thank China for Not Smoking

Forbes covers Thomas Bollyky's roundtable event on the one-year anniversary of the United Nations High-Level Meeting on the Prevention and Control of Noncommunicable Diseases, "The Rise of NCDs in Low- and Middle-Income Countries," featuring U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Director Thomas R. Frieden.

Listen

Article

Anti-Smoking Measures Under Dispute

In an interview with Bloomberg BNA's International Trade Reporter, Thomas Bollyky discusses Russia's admission into the World Trade Organization and its implications for tobacco control.

Listen

Article

WHO Reform Creeps Forward

Thomas Bollyky briefly discusses the plight of World Health Organization reform in an interview with the Canadian Medical Association Journal.

Listen

Article

Rethinking Africa's Health, Part I

Thomas Bollyky's Foreign Affairs piece on noncommunicable diseases in low- and middle-income countries, "Developing Symptoms," is highlighted in a Slate article discussing Africa's evolving health care needs.

Listen

Radio Interview

World Radio Switzerland Radio Interview

As we've heard this week, Geneva is hosting the 65th session of the World Health Assembly meeting. Participants have tackled a range of public health issues such as universal health coverage, mental disorders and polio eradication. They've also addressed the issue of non-communicable diseases (NCDs) such as diabetes, cancer and stroke which are now the leading causes of death and disability in nearly every region of the world. Indeed some health experts say the international community needs to do much more in tackling NCDs particularly in the developing world. One of those calling for action is Thomas Bollyky, Senior Fellow for Global Health, Economics, and Development at the Council on Foreign Relations in the United States. He told WRS reporter Vincent Landon about the scale of the problem.

Listen

Article

Tobacco's War on Women

In an interview with Foreign Policy, Thomas Bollyky briefly discusses the Trans Pacific Partnership's potential impact to increase access to tobacco products in partner countries.

Listen

Video Interview

How to Pick a World Bank President - Part II

For the first time, the top spot at the World Bank may not go to an American. Two candidates vying for the presidency represent developing nations.

Business News Network interviews Thomas Bollyky, Senior Fellow for Global Health, Economics, and Development, along with Lant Pritchett, Professor of International Development at the Harvard Kennedy School of Government, and Wilson Prichard, Professor of Political Science at the University of Toronto.

Listen

Article

FDA Needs to Export Know-how to Import Safer Drugs, Reports Says

Nature's blog, Spoonful of Medicine, covers the Institute of Medicine's Ensuring Safe Foods and Medicial Products Through Stronger Regulatory Systems Abroad report release.

Thomas Bollyky discusses supply chain responsibility and international regulatory cooperation as key elements for strengthening global food and drug safety.

Listen

Video Interview

Medical Products and Food Safety

Professor Jim Riviere, Thomas Bollyky, and other authors of the Institute of Medicine's Ensuring Safe Foods and Medical Products Through Stronger Regulatory Systems Abroad report outlined their findings at the National Press Club in Washington, DC.

Listen

Article

The UN's Battle with NCDs

How Politics, Commerce, and Science Complicated the Fight Against an 'Invisible Epidemic'

Authors Sheri Fink and Rebecca Rabinowitz discuss the growing global concern over non-communicable diseases in Foreign Affairs.

Listen