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Saturday, 29 August 2009

The role of the market in healthcare provision

this is an argument many on the left don't really like to have.

For just about everyone in politics, it's far easier to just dismiss arguments out of hand rather than make the difficult decisions about compromise. It's equally true of the right, who slavishly follow the market argument dismissing the state out of hand.

David J Olson, Director of policy communications, Global Health Council is the man who wrote the letter.
He praises the working of the market, but the key thing is how much the drugs are subsidised. if they can be subsidised, then great because that means people can actually get it


David J. Olson said...

Yes, I am the one who "praised" the role of markets in helping get drugs to poor people in developing countries. Except that I don't like the word "praised." I certainly don't believe the markets are perfect and they cannot be relied upon to do everything for the poor, any more than government can. Rather, I recognize the role that the private sector can playing making a contribution to this effort.

By the way, I also believe that the role of government is much more important in delivering bed nets to poor people than in delivering drugs for the treatment of malaria. That is because insecticide-treated nets are only needed once every five years and government-run immunization campaigns are an ideal way of getting them to mothers who come in for vaccinations. Malaria drugs, on the other hand, are needed quickly every time a child falls ill with malaria and need to be stocked in shops very near where the sick child lives. Thus, the role of the private sector -- with its network of pharmacies and drugs stores -- is much more important than with nets. That is what so impressed me in the eastern districts of Uganda.

Market are no panacea but neither is the public sector. Both the public and the private sectors are needed. Neither one should be dismissed and each one has its role to play, depending on the precise circumstances in each case.

Bearded Socialist said...

thanks very much for the reply, i'm honoured.
i think it's very interesting the different ways to get these things distributed. It's important to get these things out to those who need them, and i think that's far more important than the arguments surrounding it.
my point is that too often those on both sides are too stuck in their arguments when the answer lies somewhere in the middle, boring though that may be