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Medicines for Rare Conditions: The Global Effects of Steep US Prices

Despite their intended use for rare diseases, so-called orphan drugs contribute substantially to prescription drug spending; in fact, it is estimated that in just two years’ time, orphan drugs will constitute more than 20 percent of the market for global pharmaceutical sales. Nowhere is this impact more outsized than in the US, where orphan drugs are routinely priced at hundreds of thousands of dollars annually. But while prices may be especially steep in the US, the effects of US pricing can adversely affect orphan drug pricing elsewhere, too. It’s time for US policymakers to more closely scrutinize orphan drug pricing dynamics.

A hand reaching for medicine on a pharmacy shelf

Are Other Countries to Blame for High US Drug Prices?

Back in February, the US Council of Economic Advisers issued a white paper on drug pricing implying that other rich countries should stop “free riding” off American innovation by negotiating drug prices to unfairly low levels after the US fronts the research and development costs. Perhaps in response, President Trump recently announced a proposal to bring down US drug prices. But until the US corrects the structural flaws in its own healthcare system, these efforts are bound to fall short.

pills

Entrepreneurship on the Rise in the Medical Supply Chain in Africa: A Tale of Four Pharmacy Disruptors

The IFC estimates that by 2030, developing countries will need up to $210 billion per year in new investment for health care assets to meet the growing healthcare demands of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). This will require the current level of investment in healthcare in developing markets to triple. What may be almost as important as the money itself, however, is the prospective opportunity to catalyze the entrepreneurial spirit that is seeping its way into African markets. Here we look at how this entrepreneurialism is being leveraged in the pharmacy and supply chain space.

empty pill bottles

Call a Spade a Spade: Venezuela is a Public Health Emergency

Health outcomes in Venezuela are approaching emergency-like levels as services, medicines, and food become increasingly inaccessible. Venezuela’s under-5 mortality rate in 2016 already rivaled Syria’s, a Grade 3 emergency according to the World Health Organization (WHO). Since then, Caritas has estimated that 11.4 percent of children under 5 in Venezuela suffer from moderate or severe acute malnutrition.

What You Should Know About Global Health Financing Transitions: Five Key Takeaways

In recent years many global health institutions—particularly Gavi and the Global Fund—have adopted eligibility and transition frameworks for the countries they support. These frameworks lay out criteria under which countries will lose eligibility for their support, and, typically, a gradual timeframe to phase out external financing. The question of how these transitions will play out in practice—and whether global health progress will be put at risk through premature or poorly planned transitions—is a hot topic in global health.

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