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Kaiser Daily Global Health Policy Report

In The News

News Outlets Examine Foreign Aid-, Health-Related Provisions Of FY16 Omnibus Bill

Devex: How does U.S. foreign aid fare in the omnibus bill?
“…Most analysts expect the [omnibus spending] bill will find enough votes in both the House and Senate chambers to become law. To block the bill at this point would be to send the U.S. government careening towards a shutdown in the middle of the holiday season. As with most appropriations bills in recent memory, aid watchers find in this omnibus package some things to celebrate and others to lament…” (Igoe, 12/17).

Washington Post: Fight against superbugs gets dramatic funding boost under congressional budget plan
“Federal agencies engaged in the battle against deadly superbugs would get their biggest funding increase ever in the congressional spending deal unveiled this week…” (Sun, 12/17).

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U.S. Should Bolster Efforts To Protect Citizens From Disease Outbreaks, Report Says

News outlets highlight findings from a report by the Trust for America’s Health (TFAH) and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF), titled Outbreaks: Protecting Americans from Infectious Diseases.

ABC News: Here’s How Prepared Your State Is for an Outbreak
“If you live in Delaware, Kentucky, Maine, New York, or Virginia, congratulations — your state is tied for top billing in terms of preventing, diagnosing, and responding to disease outbreaks, according to a new report from the Trust for America’s Health (TFAH)…” (Barzilay, 12/17).

CIDRAP News: Complacency, underfunding fuel state readiness gaps
“…The Washington, D.C.-based health advocacy group said more than half (28) of states met five or fewer of the 10 indicators that the group uses to gauge the capacity to detect, diagnose, and respond to outbreaks. At a media telebriefing [Thursday], TFAH Executive Director Jeffrey Levi, PhD, said overall preparedness has improved since the 2001 terror and anthrax attacks, but the nation is in a pattern of ebbs and flows driven by newly emerging threats, with a fall back to complacency in the wake of the Ebola outbreak…” (Schnirring, 12/17).

HealthDay: More Than Half of U.S. States Not Well Prepared for Disease Outbreaks: Study
“…[The report] added that the United States must boost efforts to protect Americans from new threats such as Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV) and antibiotic-resistant superbugs, along with resurging diseases such as tuberculosis, whooping cough, and gonorrhea…” (Preidt, 12/17).

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The Lancet Examines Scientists', Health Experts' Reactions To Paris Climate Agreement

The Lancet: Scientists welcome new global climate change pact
“…Recalling the disappointment of the COP15 meeting in Copenhagen in 2009, climate scientists are mostly delighted by the signing of the Paris agreement. … But having voiced their enthusiasm in principle, almost all put forward a variety of doubts and caveats prompted by the treaty’s level of ambition and the prospects of full implementation…” (Watts, 12/19).

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With No New Ebola Cases, West Africa Looks Toward January Transmission End Date; Recent Cases In Liberia Potentially Linked To Pregnant Survivor

CIDRAP News: West African Ebola region eyes January transmission end date
“No new Ebola cases were reported in West Africa’s outbreak region last week, and if no cases are reported as of Jan. 14, the whole area will be considered free of virus transmission, the World Health Organization (WHO) said today in an update. In another development, the WHO confirmed that Liberia’s recent cluster was due to lingering virus in an individual who had an earlier infection…” (Schnirring, 12/16).

Reuters: Female survivor may be cause of Ebola flare-up in Liberia
“An outbreak of Ebola in Liberia months after the country was declared free of the virus could have stemmed from a survivor who became infectious again after her immune system was weakened by pregnancy, experts investigating the case said. The theory being discussed by U.S. and Liberian researchers and the World Health Organization raises concerns about whether it will be possible to bring to an end the worst Ebola epidemic in history, with as many as 17,000 survivors in West Africa acting as a potential human reservoir of the virus…” (Farge/Giahyue, 12/17).

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U.N. Should Create International Treaty Calling For Commitments To End Gender-Based Violence, Former U.N. Rapporteur Says

The Guardian: Sexual violence won’t end until states plug ‘gaping’ legal hole, says expert
“A ‘gaping hole’ in international law is allowing governments to ignore their commitments to end gender-based violence, according to the former U.N. special rapporteur on the causes and consequences of violence against women. Rashida Manjoo said states are not held fully accountable for ending violence because there is not an international treaty compelling them to do so. Manjoo called for a binding framework within the U.N. system to tackle what she called a pervasive human rights violation…” (Ford, 12/17).

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Uganda Supreme Court Returns Maternal Deaths Case To Constitutional Court, Opening Door For More Litigation

VOA News: Uganda Court Ruling on Maternal Deaths Having Wider Impact
“In Uganda, a court case involving two women who died in childbirth at government hospitals could have widespread legal implications. A Supreme Court ruling in the matter has opened the door to lawsuits in cases where the government fails to provide proper health care. … Uganda’s Constitutional Court is expected to take up the case of the deceased women sometime early next year” (Roosblad, 12/17).

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Devex Speaks With Nutrition Experts About Future Of Food Fortification

Devex: In 15-20 years, what will undernutrition efforts look like?
“…At the #FutureFortified Global Summit on Food Fortification in Arusha, Tanzania, in September, Devex Associate Editor Richard Jones asked experts what the future will look like for food fortification in the ever-shifting landscape of aid priorities and global trends…” (Anders, 12/17).

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GlaxoSmithKline's ViiV Healthcare To Purchase Experimental HIV Medicines From Bristol-Myers Squibb For Up To $1.46B

Bloomberg Business: Glaxo to Pay Bristol-Myers Up to $1.46 Billion for HIV Drugs
“GlaxoSmithKline Plc agreed to buy Bristol-Myers Squibb Co.’s portfolio of experimental HIV treatments for as much as $1.46 billion in two transactions, bolstering one of the U.K. drugmaker’s fastest-growing businesses…” (Serafino/Kitamura, 12/18).

Financial Times: GSK spends up to $1.5bn on HIV drugs in BMS deal
“…The U.K.-based drugmaker said its HIV unit, known as ViiV Healthcare, would buy a range of experimental therapies in late-stage development and a further package of early-stage assets in two separate transactions…” (Ward, 12/18).

Reuters: GSK to buy HIV drugs from Bristol-Myers Squibb for initial $350 million
“…The British company is reviving its position in HIV treatment as part of its strategy to return to earnings growth in 2016. It used to dominate the market but ViiV’s 2014 sales of 1.5 billion pounds ($2.3 billion) were less than a quarter of the HIV revenue generated by market leader Gilead Sciences…” (Young, 12/18).

Wall Street Journal: GlaxoSmithKline Buys Bristol-Myers Squibb’s HIV Assets
“…The deal does not include Bristol’s marketed HIV drugs, which include Reyataz, Evotaz, Sustiva, and Atripla. The companies said they expected the transactions to close in the first half of 2016” (Roland, 12/18).

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Turing Pharmaceuticals CEO Shkreli Arrested On Securities Fraud Charges Related To Work At Previous Company

The Hill: Price-gouging CEO indicted on securities fraud charges
“…Martin Shkreli was charged [by federal authorities] in a seven-count indictment unrelated to his tenure as CEO of Turing Pharmaceuticals, where he raised the price of toxoplasmosis drug Daraprim to $750 per pill, up from $13.50, earlier this year. The charges stem from his work at another drug company, Retrophin, which he headed from 2012 to 2014…” (Richardson, 12/17).

New York Times: Drug CEO Martin Shkreli Arrested on Fraud Charges
“…Mr. Shkreli has emerged as a symbol of pharmaceutical greed for acquiring a decades-old drug used to treat an infection that can be devastating for babies and people with AIDS and, overnight, raising the price to $750 a pill from $13.50. His only mistake, he later conceded, was not raising the price more…” (Creswell et al., 12/17).

New York Times: Martin Shkreli’s Arrest Gives Drug Makers Cover
“…Most drug companies do not increase prices fiftyfold overnight, as Mr. Shkreli did. But they often increase prices 10 percent or more a year, far faster than inflation. And those 10 percent increases — on drugs for common diseases like diabetes, high cholesterol, and cancer — have a far bigger impact on health care spending than the 5,000 percent increase on Turing’s drug, Daraprim, which might be used by about 2,000 people a year facing possible brain damage from a parasitic infection called toxoplasmosis…” (Pollack, 12/17).

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Editorials and Opinions

International Community Must Continue To Fund Global Health Institutions Such As Global Fund That Support Health Services Integration, UHC

Health Affairs Blog: Eyes On The Final Prize: Integrating Services To Transform Global Health
Eric Goosby, U.N. special envoy on tuberculosis and professor of medicine at the University of California, San Francisco

“…[I]n the year to come, it is imperative that those of us working on specific disease investments keep our eyes on the final prize — that of integrating disease and wellness services to create a more responsive health system in every country that is capable of delivering essential services to the entire population. … By investing in better information systems, training health workers, improving access for marginalized populations, and optimizing financial management through procurement and supply chain reform, the Global Fund and its partners are supporting the creation of cross-cutting services that provide health benefits reaching far beyond AIDS, TB, and malaria. … Universal health care is necessary to win the fight against diseases like TB — and putting patients into another disease-specific program does not make any sense. As we look toward universal health coverage, we must preserve the gains that have been painstakingly won in the fight against individual diseases, which is only possible with steady funding of global health institutions…” (12/17).

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Nations Must Improve Responses To, Coordination For Global Health Emergencies

Devex: Working hand in hand on global health challenges
Christos Stylianides, European commissioner for humanitarian aid and crisis management

“…We need to … improve the way we respond [to global health emergencies]. … Ebola has been a warning for the world’s health systems, showing that global health emergencies know no borders, and do not wait for us to be ready to deal with them. Another stark lesson to be learnt from the Ebola crisis is the need for more effective coordination across sectoral, institutional, and geographic boundaries. It underlines two things about global health governance: First, the crucial need for effective alert systems at the global and regional level. … Second, the fact that nothing can substitute in the longer term for effective health care systems at the national and local levels. … My very committed colleagues in the European Commission and I are working every day to make sure that we continue [to improve our responses to health emergencies]” (12/18).

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Reaching Climate Agreement Could Be 'Most Important Public Health Intervention'

Richmond Times-Dispatch: Cohen: A Healing Climate in Paris
Gary Cohen, president and co-founder of Health Care Without Harm and Practice Greenhealth

“…[A]ddressing the climate crisis is the most important public health intervention we can make in our lifetime. … [I]f our leaders don’t act, all the global public health gains of the past century could be reversed. … The Paris deal is the world’s best chance to get off the deadly ‘business-as-usual’ track and protect vulnerable people in the U.S. and other nations. … An ounce of prevention here, in the form of a strong global climate treaty, can be worth a pound of cure later on. An ambitious agreement isn’t only the most cost-effective way to stop climate change — it’s also the smartest way to save lives during the remainder of the century” (12/17).

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The Lancet To Advocate For Health Security In 2016

The Lancet: Health security: the defining challenge of 2016
Editorial Board

“…Whatever geopolitical uncertainty lies ahead in 2016, The Lancet will advocate for renewed scientific investment and endeavor in areas where gaps in practice, policy, and research, across clinical medicine and global health remain. We see the overriding theme uniting many of the diverse threats to human health as one of insecurity. What can one journal do to strengthen the conditions for advancing health security? 2016 will see The Lancet launch several clinical Commissions … [W]ith health security being the big idea of our time, perhaps at no other moment have the words peace and goodwill seemed so relevant” (12/19).

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From the Global Health Policy Community

Helms, Hyde Amendments Violate Reproductive Rights Of Women Worldwide

RH Reality Check: The Helms and Hyde Amendments: More Than 40 Years of Human Rights Violations
Jamila Taylor, a senior policy adviser at Ipas, and Yamani Hernandez, executive director of the National Network of Abortion Funds, discuss the Helms and Hyde amendments, which restrict U.S. funding for abortion in certain circumstances. They write, “…Millions of people, in the United States and around the world, receive funding from U.S. programs that improve maternal health conditions. Yet, the Helms and Hyde amendments undermine this important work, harming women, particularly low-income women and women of color, in the United States and in the Global South. … Ultimately, in order for people around the world to realize full equality and reproductive freedom as our own human rights principles set out to do, these funding restrictions must be repealed…” (12/17).

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Global Fund Launches Investment Case For 2017-2019 Replenishment

ONE Blog: Global Fund kicks off fundraising effort to save 8 million lives
Cornelia Lluberes, research assistant for global health policy at the ONE Campaign, discusses the Global Fund’s pre-replenishment meeting that took place this week in Japan, where the Investment Case for the Global Fund’s 2017-2019 Replenishment was presented. “The meeting serves as … a critical platform for leaders to discuss how to continue the fund’s legacy as the world’s largest financier of AIDS, TB, and malaria programs,” Lluberes notes (12/17).

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New Issue Of 'Global Health: Science And Practice' Journal Available Online

Global Health: Science and Practice: December 2015
The new issue of “Global Health: Science and Practice” features articles on various topics, including a study on voluntary medical male circumcision in Zambia, advancing family planning in the DRC, and using mHealth tools in Guinea’s Ebola response (December 2015).

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