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Public-Private Partnerships ‘Not Magic Bullets’ To Reaching Health-Related SDGs

Inter Press Service: PPPs Likely to Undermine Public Health Commitments
Anis Chowdhury, former professor of economics at the University of Western Sydney and former senior U.N. official; and Jomo Kwame Sundaram, former U.N. assistant secretary general for economic development

“…Health care PPPs in low- and middle-income countries have raised concerns about: competition with other health programs for funding, causing inefficiencies and wasting resources; discrepancies in costs and benefits between partners typically favoring the private sector; incompatibility with national health strategies; poor government negotiating positions vis-à-vis powerful pharmaceutical and other health care service companies from donor countries. … Donor-funded PPPs are typically unsustainable, eventually harming national health strategies, policies, capacities, and capabilities. PPPs may divert domestic resources from national priorities, and thus undermine public health due to financial constraints they cause. … PPPs are certainly not magic bullets to achieve the SDGs. While PPPs can mobilize private finance, this can also be achieved at lower cost through government borrowing. Instead of uncritically promoting blended finance and PPPs, the international community should provide capacity-building support to developing countries to safeguard the public interest, especially equity, access, and public health, to ensure that no one is left behind” (1/17).

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Filling the need for trusted information on national health issues, the Kaiser Family Foundation is a nonprofit organization based in Menlo Park, California.