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Kaiser Daily Global Health Policy Report

In The News

TPP's Pharmaceutical Provisions Likely To Draw Criticism From Industry, Aid Agencies

The Hill: Trade deal would limit protections for pharma firms
“Trade officials from 12 countries agreed Monday to shrink the length of time that pharmaceutical companies can receive monopoly rights for certain drugs, a provision that is already threatening to incite a Big Pharma rebellion on Capitol Hill. Brand-name companies would receive up to eight years of monopoly rights for drugs known as biologics — a decrease from the current 12 years provided under U.S. law, according to officials involved. The final language of the deal has not yet been released…” (Ferris, 10/5).

Vox: How the Trans-Pacific Partnership could drive up the cost of medicine worldwide
“…[T]he deal’s most controversial provisions are the ones limiting competition in the pharmaceutical industry. According to Doctors Without Borders, ‘The TPP will still go down in history as the worst trade agreement for access to medicines in developing countries.’ Though the final text of the agreement won’t be available for at least another month, here’s what we know so far…” (Belluz, 10/5).

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Investigations Ongoing Into U.S. Bombing Of MSF Hospital In Kunduz; MSF, U.N. Withdraw Aid Operations From Afghanistan's North

The Guardian: Kunduz hospital bombing latest in a long line of attacks on MSF staff
“The U.S. airstrikes that targeted a Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) hospital in the northern Afghan city of Kunduz, killing 12 staff members, at least 10 patients, and seriously wounding 37 people, brought about the single largest loss of life that the medical charity has suffered in 35 years of working in the country…” (Jones, 10/5).

The Hill: White House: Afghan hospital bombing not a ‘war crime’
“The White House on Monday avoided describing the weekend attack on an Afghan hospital as a ‘war crime,’ citing ongoing investigations. White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest told reporters that the bombing of the facility staffed with volunteers from Doctors Without Borders was a ‘profound tragedy’…” (Cirilli, 10/5).

IRIN: Aid agencies withdraw from Afghanistan’s north
“The United Nations has evacuated staff from areas of northern Afghanistan where a suspected American airstrike hit a clinic run by Médecins Sans Frontières, forcing it to leave Kunduz Province — the latest in a growing number of humanitarian agencies withdrawing from the north as violence increases…” (James, 10/5).

New York Times: U.S. General Says Afghans Requested Airstrike That Hit Kunduz Hospital
“The American commander in Afghanistan, Gen. John F. Campbell, said on Monday that Afghan forces had requested the airstrike that destroyed a Doctors Without Borders hospital in the city of Kunduz, conceding that the military had incorrectly reported at first that the response was to protect American troops said to be under direct threat…” (Rosenberg, 10/5).

Wall Street Journal: U.S. General Says Afghan Forces Requested Strike on Hospital in Kunduz
“…The assessment delivered Monday by Gen. John Campbell emerged from ongoing investigations into Saturday’s incident at the Doctors Without Borders hospital, in which 22 people were killed and numerous others injured. … The investigations, which are being conducted separately by the Afghan government, the U.S. military, and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, are in their early stages…” (Lubold/Amiri, 10/5).

Washington Post: U.S. military struggles to explain how it wound up bombing Doctors Without Borders hospital
“…It now ranks among one of the most high-profile U.S. strikes to result in civilian casualties in Afghanistan. In July 2002, a U.S. AC-130 fired on a wedding party, killing more than 40 and injuring more than 100 people in northern Helmand Province. Since the attack, Doctors Without Borders has left Kunduz” (Gibbons-Neff/Craig, 10/5).

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Chinese Nobel Laureate Led Team To Develop Artemisinin Under Orders From Mao Zedong

The Guardian: Tu Youyou: how Mao’s challenge to malaria pioneer led to Nobel prize
“It was 21 January 1969 when Mao Zedong gave a 39-year-old scientist from Zhejiang province the challenge of her life. China was in the grip of the Cultural Revolution, with universities and schools across the country shutting their doors as the red guards ran riot. Amid all the madness Tu Youyou, then a researcher at the Academy of Traditional Chinese Medicine in Beijing, was handed a daunting mission: to find a drug that would cure malaria…” (Phillips, 10/5).

NPR: On Orders From Mao, Researchers Set Off On Nobel-Winning Drug Work
“…For Tu, it all started in the 1960s, when Americans and North Vietnamese fighters were hurting — not just from jungle warfare with each other but also from a common enemy: drug-resistant malaria. Scientists on both sides of the line scurried to develop a new drug that would keep troops malaria-free…” (Cole/Bichell, 10/5).

PRI: A Chinese pharmacologist who discovered a treatment for malaria in an ancient Chinese remedy gets a Nobel prize
“…Tu was recognized with a Nobel prize [Monday] for rediscovering artemisinin, a plant derivative that has significantly reduced death rates from malaria. Her contribution isn’t widely acknowledged today, even in her home country…” (Hackel, 10/5).

Washington Post: How a secret Chinese military drug based on an ancient herb won the Nobel Prize
“…Yet, the international community would be slow to pick up on qinghaosu, or artemisinin, as it’s known outside of China. … By the early 2000s, multi-drug resistant strains of malaria were spreading in several regions of the world. Artemisinin became the one of last lines of defense, and the World Health Organization ramped up efforts to provide the drug…” (Guo, 10/6).

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Mother Jones Highlights Merck Program To Provide Free Ivermectin After Drug's Discoverers Win Nobel Prize

Mother Jones: This Company Gave Away a Drug That Just Won the Nobel Prize and Helped Millions
“…Since 1987, [Merck’s] Mectizan Donation Program has given out more than a billion treatments for onchoceriasis and lymphatic filariasis to people in 33 countries (in the late ’90s GlaxoSmithKline contributed another drug for lymphatic filariasis to the program). … The Nobel committee said ivermectin’s importance was ‘immeasurable’ for the health of many in the world’s poorest regions…” (Whelan, 10/5).

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News Outlets Report On Potential Public Health Impacts Of El Niño

Agence France-Presse: El Niño could spark large-scale dengue fever epidemic
“The weather phenomenon known as El Niño could lead to an epidemic of dengue fever cases in southeast Asia, international researchers said Monday. … Researchers analyzed 18 years of monthly dengue surveillance reports across southeast Asia, according to the study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, a peer-reviewed U.S. journal…” (10/5).

Thomson Reuters Foundation: Millions hungry in sub-Saharan Africa, worse to come from El Niño: Red Cross
“Tens of millions of people across sub-Saharan Africa are going hungry due to erratic weather and the situation is set to worsen as the El Niño weather pattern reaches its peak, the Red Cross said on Monday as it launched funding appeals for six countries…” (Guilbert, 10/6).

VOA News: El Niño Worsening Sub-Saharan Africa Food Crisis
“…IFRC is launching an $8 million emergency appeal to assist more than 200,000 people in Gambia, Mauritania, Malawi, Namibia, Senegal, and Zimbabwe. The appeals aim to help the most vulnerable of the millions at risk…” (Schlein, 10/5).

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GlobalPost Examines Progress Of Clean India Campaign

GlobalPost: 8 million new toilets later, India isn’t much cleaner
“…One year in, the Clean India Campaign has taken an important step to raise public and political awareness about a serious issue. But unless the government goes further than building new bathrooms, it will just be a lot of money down the toilet” (Jaiswal, 10/6).

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PAHO, British Government Program Aims To Bolster Caribbean Hospitals' Resiliency To Natural Disasters

New York Times: Caribbean Hospitals Getting Help for Hurricanes
“Because hospitals on Caribbean islands are often damaged by hurricanes and earthquakes just when they are needed by scores of newly injured patients, the Pan American Health Organization and the British government have begun a ‘Smart Hospitals’ program that retrofits vulnerable hospitals…” (McNeil, 10/5).

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San Francisco Serves As Global Model For Cities In Preventing, Treating HIV, New York Times Reports

New York Times: San Francisco Is Changing Face of AIDS Treatment
“…San Francisco … is turning the tide against HIV and serving as a model for other cities. The city that was once the epidemic’s ground zero now has only a few hundred new cases a year, the result of a raft of creative programs that have sent infection rates plummeting. ‘I love the San Francisco model,’ said Dr. Anthony S. Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases. ‘…[T]here’s no excuse for everyone not doing it.’ Last week, the World Health Organization essentially agreed…” (McNeil, 10/5).

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The Economist Examines How Diseases Qualify As Eradicable

The Economist: What makes a disease eradicable
“Humanity has succeeded in eradicating only one human disease: smallpox. … [Polio and Guinea worm] are the only targets currently sanctioned for global eradication by the World Health Organization. The International Task-Force for Disease Eradication, a group of scientists and health experts established in 1988 by the Carter Center, an Atlanta-based charity, reckons that the list should include six more: lymphatic filariasis (elephantiasis); measles; mumps; rubella; cysticercosis (pork tapeworm); and yaws, which affects the skin, bone, and cartilage. What makes a disease eradicable?…” (S.C., 10/6).

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Editorials and Opinions

Independent Investigation Needed Into U.S. Airstrike On MSF Hospital

New York Times: The Aftermath of a Deadly Airstrike in Afghanistan
Editorial Board

“…Gen. John Campbell, who commands American and NATO forces in Afghanistan, acknowledged at a news conference on Monday that the airstrike [on a hospital in Kunduz, Afghanistan, run by Médecins Sans Frontières] by an American gunship on Saturday had ‘accidentally struck’ civilians and promised a thorough investigation. That is not sufficient. In addition, an independent panel should quickly be empowered to obtain all the information needed to produce a credible conclusion about what went so horribly wrong. … Whenever [civilian deaths happen], American military commanders have promised to hone the rules of engagement to minimize the risks. General Campbell repeated that pledge on Monday. He needs to urgently re-examine the issue” (10/5).

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HIV Home Tests Should Be Included As Prevention Tool In International Strategies

New York Times: Letter to the Editor: A Different Strategy
Elliott Millenson, founder and former chief executive of the Johnson & Johnson subsidiary that developed the first home test for HIV

“…Now that there are drugs that can help prevent HIV transmission, the World Health Organization appears to see the problems with [the ‘ABC’ HIV prevention strategy — abstain, be faithful, use a condom –] and is promoting guidelines that would ‘increase by nine million the number of people who should get treatment and untold millions the number who should get protective doses.’ Untold millions translates to untold billions in costs, unless pharmaceutical companies are willing to dramatically reduce prices. At the same time, there are less expensive approaches to prevention, including extremely low-cost rapid HIV tests — less than $1 — that people can use at home to test themselves and find out the HIV status of sex partners. It’s time to move past our ABCs” (10/5).

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Use Of Anti-Malaria Bed Nets Have Health, Economic Benefits

Global Health NOW: Healthier is Wealthier — Insecticide Treated Nets, Agricultural Yields, and Poverty
Günther Fink, associate professor of international health economics in the Department of Global Health and Population at the Harvard School of Public Health

“…The results of [a] study, recently published in the Journal of Health Economics, suggest that access to bed nets yields rather large economic returns … Does this mean that we will have to provide the entire developing world with nets forever? Definitely not — all this means is that nets not only provide large health benefits in highly [malaria] endemic areas, they can also improve the incomes and livelihoods of some of the poorest households in the world. By no means does this imply that eradicating malaria will end global poverty; it is simply a first step towards reducing the multiple sources of adversity faced by poor households in developing countries today” (10/5).

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From the Global Health Policy Community

WHO Releases Statement From 7th Meeting Of IHR Emergency Committee On Ebola

WHO: Statement on the 7th meeting of the IHR Emergency Committee regarding the Ebola outbreak in West Africa
This WHO statement discusses temporary recommendations made by the International Health Regulation (IHR) Emergency Committee to countries with Ebola transmission and all nations regarding the Ebola outbreak in West Africa (10/5).

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New WHO, UNAIDS Standards Aim To Improve Quality Of Adolescent Health Care Services

UNAIDS: WHO and UNAIDS launch new standards to improve adolescent care
“New Global Standards for quality health care services for adolescents developed by the World Health Organization (WHO) and UNAIDS aim to help countries improve the quality of adolescent health care. … WHO and UNAIDS Global Standards for quality health care services for adolescents recommend making services more ‘adolescent friendly,’ providing free or low-cost consultations, and making medically accurate age-appropriate health information available. They also highlight the need for adolescents to be able to access services without necessarily having to make an appointment or requiring parental consent…” (10/6).

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WHO Works To Strengthen Palliative Care Services For All Ages, Diseases

WHO: Palliative care: for all ages and all diseases
This WHO Feature discusses the agency’s work in and the importance of strengthening and integrating palliative care services in low- and middle-income settings for people of all ages with any ailment (October 2015).

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Graça Machel Discusses SDGs At New York Briefing

U.N. Dispatch: The SDG Challenge: Q&A with Graça Machel
Kimberly Curtis, a lawyer and freelance journalist, summarizes comments by “Graça Machel, an international activist for women and children rights as well as the former first lady of Mozambique and South Africa … [made at] a briefing following her appearance at the Social Good Summit…” Machel discusses the Sustainable Development Goals, particularly the health goal, how the SDGs can be applied to emergency and conflict situations, and the goals as a catalyst for political change (10/5).

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UCSF Initiative Launches New Website Highlighting Progress Toward Eliminating Malaria

University of California San Francisco: New website highlights progress in eliminating malaria
“The Global Health Group’s Malaria Elimination Initiative (MEI) has launched a new website to showcase commitment to and progress in malaria elimination. ShrinkingtheMalariaMap.org highlights the epidemiological progress in malaria-eliminating countries, emphasizes the resilient regional collaborations, offers information on the latest policy and financing, and provides a one-stop-shop for malaria elimination resources…” (10/5).

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Blog Post Provides Roundup Of Recent Global Health Research News

Global Health Technologies Coalition’s “Breakthroughs”: Research Roundup: genetic protection against malaria, the vaccine pipeline, and counterfeit drugs and the FDA
Kat Kelley, GHTC’s senior program assistant, highlights recent news in global health research, including a study identifying a genetic variation that might provide protection against malaria, a report evaluating the vaccine pipeline of 20 major pharmaceutical companies, and FDA regulations aimed at blocking counterfeit drugs from importation (10/5).

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