Over Christmas, headlines across Britain screamed that Victorian-era diseases had returned. The past five years had apparently witnessed a 136 percent increase in scarlet fever cases, a remarkable 300 percent rise in the confirmed cases of cholera along with reported occurrences of other once-vanquished diseases like tuberculosis, measles and whooping cough.
Joshua Sharfstein of Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health and Alex Tabarrok of George Mason University join CFR’s Thomas Bollyky to discuss the role that generic drug regulation might play in addressing off-patent pharmaceutical pricing concerns.
In 2014, Mexico, which has a higher rate of adult obesity than the United States, became one of the first countries to implement a nationwide soda tax. Dr. Juan Rivera of the National Institutes of Public Health of Mexico joins CFR’s Thomas Bollyky to discuss the early results from the first year of that tax and its implications for the use of soda taxes in other countries and cities.
One of the most contentious issues in the Trans-Pacific Partnership negotiations is related to intellectual property and medicines. CFR’s Laurie Garrett reviews the intensifying debate among industry and global health advocates.
In a biological sense, last year’s Ebola epidemic, which struck West Africa, spilled over into the United States and Europe, and has to date led to more than 27,000 infections and more than 11,000 deaths, was a great surprise. Local health and political leaders did not know of the presence of the hemorrhagic fever virus in the 35,000-square-mile Guinea Forest Region, and no human cases had ever been identified in the region prior to the outbreak.
The latest UN development initiative calls for achieving universal health coverage by 2030, a goal widely supported in the global health community but one that is possibly too ambitious, writes CFR’s Laurie Garrett.
The amount of international aid given to address noncommunicable diseases is minimal. Most of it is directed to wealthier countries and focuses on the prevention of unhealthy lifestyles. Explanations for the current direction of noncommunicable disease aid include that these are diseases of affluence that benefit from substantial research and development into their treatment in high-income countries and are better addressed through domestic tax and policy measures to reduce risk-factor prevalence than through aid programs. This study assessed these justifications. First, we examined the relationships among premature adult mortality, defined as the probability that a person who has lived to the age of fifteen will die before the age of sixty from noncommunicable diseases; the major risk factors for these diseases; and country wealth. Second, we compared noncommunicable and communicable diseases prevalent in poor and wealthy countries alike, and their respective links to economic development. Last, we examined the respective roles that wealth and risk prevention have played in countries that achieved substantial reductions in premature mortality from noncommunicable diseases. Our results support greater investment in cost-effective noncommunicable disease preventive care and treatment in poorer countries and a higher priority for reducing key risk factors, particularly tobacco use.
Learn more about CFR’s mission and its work over the past year in the 2016 Annual Report. The Annual Report spotlights new initiatives, high-profile events, and authoritative scholarship from CFR experts, and includes a message from CFR President Richard N. Haass. Read and download »