KFF Daily Global Health Policy Report

In The News

Debate Over Trans-Pacific Partnership, Trade Promotion Authority Continues In U.S. Senate, Japan

Bloomberg: Food Fear Lands Japan in Court Over U.S. Trade Deal Talks
“A former Japanese agriculture minister is suing the government over a U.S.-led Pacific trade agreement supported by Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, claiming it threatens Japan’s food security and farm industry. Masahiko Yamada, 73, a lawyer and minister in 2010 in the then Democratic Party of Japan government, filed the lawsuit at Tokyo District Court on Friday on behalf of more than 1,000 plaintiffs, seeking to prevent Japan from joining the Trans-Pacific Partnership, he said by phone…” (Takada, 5/15).

CQ News: Trade Deal Seen as Route to Delay Generic Drug Competition
“Critics of the Trans-Pacific Partnership, the 12-nation trade talks that stumbled in the Senate Tuesday, see congressional resistance to fast-track trade authority as helping their bid to prevent a deal on pharmaceuticals that would raise the cost of advanced medicines. According to the critics, the Trans-Pacific Partnership would give makers of expensive and innovative medicines known as biologics 12 years of exclusivity to sell the drugs. The critics say the 12-year provision would even prevent the United States from shortening exclusivity, a change the Obama administration has proposed…” (Young, 5/14).

New York Times: Senate, in Reversal, Begins Debate on Trade Authority
“Two days after Democratic senators blocked it, the Senate voted on Thursday to take up legislation that would grant the president negotiating freedom to complete an expansive trade accord with 11 nations on the Pacific Rim, setting off a contentious congressional debate on one of President Obama’s top priorities for his remaining time in office…” (Weisman, 5/14).

Wall Street Journal: Fast-Track Trade Bill Clears Key Senate Hurdle
“…The vote to open debate on a bill to grant Mr. Obama wider trade negotiating authority, passed 65-33, signals eventual Senate approval of the measure. It also triggers a fight in the House that will touch nearly every industry, from auto factories and steel companies to shoe manufacturers and drug companies…” (Hughes, 5/14).

Washington Post: Obama’s trade plan gets second wind but still faces fight from Democrats
“…[T]he bulk of the Senate debate is expected next week, following the afternoon procedural vote on proceeding with the fast-track bill, also known as ‘Trade Promotion Authority,’ or TPA. By passing the bill, Congress would relinquish its ability to amend trade deals negotiated by the executive branch, leaving them subject to a simple up-or-down vote. The 12-nation ­Trans-Pacific Partnership, or TPP, is the most ambitious deal likely to come up for consideration…” (DeBonis, 5/14).

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U.N.'s Ban Calls For Global Commitment To Improve Women, Children's Health

U.N. News Centre: Ban kicks off meeting to boost commitment to ‘Every Woman, Every Child’ initiative
“Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has gathered senior leaders from around the world for a meeting that began [Thursday] in New York on ways to step-up commitments to improve the health of women, children, and adolescents globally under a United Nations initiative…” (5/14).

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Successful Marketing Of NTDs Garners Attention, Funding Commitments

International Business Times: How Three Scientists ‘Marketed’ Neglected Tropical Diseases And Raised More Than $1 Billion
“…[T]hese [17] maladies were largely ignored until three researchers came up with the surprisingly simple idea to ‘market’ them to politicians and private foundations collectively as ‘neglected tropical diseases.’ … This simple strategy — to create a strong brand that would allow advocates to pitch a myriad of forgotten diseases at once — has proven remarkably effective. All together, governments and aid organizations have pledged at least a billion dollars to neglected tropical diseases since 2006. … ‘Marketing is a big aspect of it,’ Josh Michaud, associate director for global health policy at Kaiser Family Foundation, says. ‘Had they not come up with this term, I don’t think we would be where we are in terms of funding and attention on this issue’…” (Nordum, 5/14).

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Global Leaders, Public Health Experts Look To Bolster Health Systems, Disease Outbreak Response Systems In Ebola's Wake

GlobalPost GroundTruth: After Ebola, will a pledge to improve health systems be realized?
“…[Global leaders] have made an increasing call for ‘health system strengthening’ — the building up of all facets of a health care system, including training medical staff, improving information systems and providing hospitals with adequate equipment and drugs to ensure a minimum standard of health care for all — and have pledged hundreds of millions of dollars. But many who work in global health worry this bold effort will not materialize, since this approach has been a failed ambition for decades as funders have prioritized shorter-term and more disease-specific goals…” (Hogan, 5/14).

VOA News: Doctors Look to Prevent Another Ebola Epidemic
“Liberians celebrated the end of the Ebola epidemic after the World Health Organization made it official on May 9. But the focus now is to prevent the next Ebola outbreak from becoming an epidemic. … The WHO and the international community were criticized for being slow to respond, but the WHO lacks the funds to provide the kind of response that was needed…” (Pearson, 5/14).

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U.N.'s Ban Lauds Humanitarian Ceasefire In Yemen As Aid Efforts Ramp Up

U.N. News Centre: Yemen: U.N. chief hails important humanitarian pause as critical aid reaches civilians
“Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has spotlighted the importance of Yemen’s humanitarian ceasefire as the United Nations and its partners ramp up critical relief efforts to civilian populations in need, according to a spokesperson for the organization…” (5/14).

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Haitian Cholera Outbreak Remains Humanitarian Emergency Requiring 'Urgent Attention,' U.N. Official Says

U.N. News Centre: Haiti: senior U.N. official says cholera outbreak needs ‘urgent attention’
“The cholera outbreak in Haiti remains the largest in recent world history, according to the United Nations official coordinating the organization’s cholera response in the country, yet the health crisis has fallen off the international agenda after having ceased appearing in the media…” (5/14).

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Russian Government's Policies Worsening HIV Epidemic, Expert Says

Agence France-Presse: AIDS expert flays Kremlin, says Russia’s HIV epidemic worsening
“Russia’s top AIDS expert lambasted the Kremlin’s increasingly conservative agenda Thursday, saying the HIV epidemic is worsening and at least two million Russians are likely to be infected in about five years. Vadim Pokrovsky, head of the country’s state AIDS center, said the Kremlin’s policies promoting traditional family values had failed to halt the spread of the deadly virus…” (Smolchenko, 5/14).

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High Maternal Mortality Rates Persist In Latin America Despite Social Progress

Inter Press Service: Pregnancy and Childbirth Still Kill Too Many Women in Latin America
“In spite of strides in social progress, Latin America’s maternal mortality rates remain unacceptable, and many of the deaths are avoidable, occurring partly because of neglect of the prescriptions provided by experts: preventive action and health promotion…” (Frayssinet, 5/14).

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Food Aid Cuts In Burkina Faso Deprive People With HIV/AIDS Of Nutrition, Advocates Say

IRIN: What a funding crisis is doing to AIDS patients in Burkina Faso
“For years you couldn’t tell if someone in Burkina Faso had HIV/AIDS just by looking at them. Now it’s getting easier again because cuts in food assistance are depriving them of nutrition, AIDS advocates say. Some 12,000 HIV/AIDS patients who rely on food aid are at risk of food insecurity and health problems this year if programs don’t receive the required level of funding, local and international aid agencies warn…” (Ouedraogo, 5/14).

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Editorials and Opinions

U.K.'s Antimicrobial Review Panel's Recommendations Should Be Expanded Upon, Implemented

Financial Times: New drugs way to avoid an antibiotic apocalypse
Editorial Board

“…The commendable O’Neill plan has two main elements. To rejuvenate the earliest stage of research, a $2bn antimicrobial resistance innovation fund would seed lab work around the world. … The second part of the plan is less straightforward but gets to the heart of the market failure in antibiotics. A global body, its shape and governance still to be defined, would make huge lump-sum payments to companies developing drugs that meet pre-agreed specifications. These upfront payments — prizes in effect — might be worth as much as $3.5bn each. … The O’Neill proposals are still rudimentary but they represent the best starting point so far in developing new weapons to see off the threatened antibiotic apocalypse. Governments, health agencies, and the pharmaceuticals industry should now engage seriously in drawing up a detailed, practical plan to put them into effect” (5/14).

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Putting Women, Children, Adolescents At Center Of Development Efforts Will Ensure Effectiveness Of SDGs

Huffington Post: Saving a Generation Within a Generation
Flavia Bustreo, World Health Organization assistant director-general for family, women’s and children’s health, and vice chair of the Board of Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance

“…[The] commitment to make life healthier for future generations is the foundation for the Global Strategy for Women’s, Children’s and Adolescents’ Health. The new Strategy aims to ensure the effectiveness of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) … This week, I will attend a special retreat convened by the U.N. Secretary-General for high-ranking government leaders and international development actors to consider the Zero Draft of the Global Strategy. Next week health ministers will hold further discussions during the World Health Organization’s annual Assembly. And after the Strategy is launched later this year, countries will discuss a roadmap for implementation with a view to adopt it at the 2016 Health Assembly. I will urge them to support the new Global Strategy. It puts people at the center of the SDGs. Only by putting women, children, and adolescents at the center — to survive and thrive — can the SDGs bring about the transformation needed to attain and sustain the future we want…” (5/14).

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Ending Extreme Poverty Requires Governments To Act, U.N. Adviser Jeffrey Sachs Says

Huffington Post: The Rich Countries Are Leaving the Poor for Dead: Jeffrey Sachs on the Millennium Development Goals
Katherine Keating, contributing editor of The WorldPost and executive producer of the One on One Series

“…Despite his experiences of skepticism and false promises over the past 15 years, Sachs still believes that the world can put an end to extreme poverty. Echoing one of his earlier speeches, the reality is ‘either you decide to leave people to die or you decide to do something about it.’ As we move to this post-2015 agenda, to the Sustainable Development Goal era, Sachs’ call to action is to spread the word, to move the issue of global poverty into the mainstream, and to put pressure on our governments to take the necessary action.” The piece includes a video interview with Sachs (5/14).

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Latin America Must Reevaluate Priorities Surrounding Maternal Health, Abortion

Bloomberg View: Latin America Is Failing Its Women
Mac Margolis, Bloomberg View contributor

“…Domestic violence, religiously motivated legislation, and a culture of impunity: When it comes to safeguarding women and especially girls, Latin American governments appear to be in a race to the bottom. … Both traditional Roman Catholic and emerging evangelical Protestant leaders condemn rape as strongly as they champion the unborn child. And yet while their ‘pro-life’ zeal has made Latin America home to some of the strictest rules against abortion, this is little solace to the victims of sex crimes who are bound to carry their forced pregnancy to term. … As broadminded and socially bold as Pope Francis has been, no one expects Rome to budge on abortion or birth control. But it will be interesting to hear what the first Latin American pope has to say when he touches down in Asuncion in July” (5/14).

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From the Global Health Policy Community

ODI Report Examines International Public Financing, Poverty Eradication Goal

Humanosphere: Status quo won’t end extreme poverty by 2030, think tank says
Humanosphere reporter Tom Murphy discusses findings and recommendations from an Overseas Development Institute report, writing, “The report says that the key to changing the way development is done starts with providing enough money to finance basic social services including health care, education, and income support…” (5/14).

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TB Alliance, Pharmaceutical Partner Begin Clinical Trial For XDR-TB Treatment Regimen In South Africa

Center for Global Health Policy’s “Science Speaks”: First all-oral XDR-TB drug regimen trial launches in South Africa
Rabita Aziz, policy research coordinator for the Center for Global Health Policy, discusses the start of a TB treatment clinical trial in South Africa, writing, “The TB Alliance Wednesday announced the launch of the first clinical trial testing an all-oral regimen to treat extensively drug-resistant tuberculosis. With a three drug combination, the Nix-TB regimen trial seeks to cure patients within six to nine months…” (5/14).

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