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SCIENCE. 1991 Mar 15; 251:1312-3.AIDS scientists met in February 1991 to discuss international trials of AIDS vaccines because of the urgency in conducting such trials since the US Food and Drug Administration approved 6 vaccines for trails. Major problems discussed were how to insure access to potential AIDS vaccines to developing countries, where to conduct future tests of vaccine efficacy, and which of the leading institutions should coordinate such an effort. The most difficult issue centered around who assumes the risks and who benefits. Many researchers considered conducting AIDS vaccine trials in developing countries since they have a large population varied in age and gender at high risk of HIV infection. Assuming an HIV vaccine is effective, additional questions must be addressed: How can a developing country afford a vaccine at free market prices? If that country does get the vaccine should not other developing countries also get it? Who will pay for it and distribute it? WHO has already contacted ministries of health about AIDS trials. Other organizations, e.g., the US Centers for Disease Control and the US National Institutes of Health, also already involved in international AIDS vaccine research do not want to be kept out of the Phase III trials. Some recommended that WHO be the international umbrella, others suggested that no organization control all the research. Nevertheless the vaccine will be produced in a rich country, and if left to the free market, it will be too expensive. 1 suggestions is a 2-tiered pricing plan in which rich countries pay higher prices thereby subsidizing the price in poor countries. Another is a patent exchange where the vaccine developers donate the vaccine patent to an international organization and they in turn can get an extension on an existing patent. Another alternative includes removing AIDS vaccines from the private sector altogether.
JOURNAL OF TROPICAL MEDICINE AND HYGIENE. 1989 Aug; 92(4):229-41.This general discussion on health economics provides an historical overview as well as a discussion of some of the developments and deficiencies in health economics in developing countries, broadly focused on expenditure and financing studies, cost benefit and cost effectiveness, local costing studies and health planning. In 1963, it was found that as GDP rose so did health expenditures, that countries with similar per capita income spent different percentages of GDp on health services, that the private sector involvement was greater than the public, and that hospitals received most of the money. Countries were encouraged to conduct further studies. The World Bank has successfully stimulated discussion. However, lacking the expenditure studies, cost benefits are hampered by the availability of epidemiological data and poor cost information, and geared toward studies on how to cut costs for immediate goals, or specific diseases, rather than on practical advice to governments. 1 such study helped identify that most cost effective allocation of resources. The limited local cost studies are particular to understanding specific costs of immunization versus antenatal visits; however, the usefulness of such preliminary information reveals wide variability between countries. The Health for All initiatives and the limited resources in developing countries have placed health planning in a central position with Ministries of Health. Due to prior mistakes in planning an excess number of trained medical staff are underutilized and present needs have been defined as developing local PHC support staff. The WHO expectation of 5% of GNP for health service was unfulfilled because larger donor aid and local resources have not been sufficient even with strong posturing, and over ambitious plans were made unrealistically. Since 1987, WHO has provided economic strategies but the economic crises changed the needs. Many questions remain and consultants are too few, improperly trained, or unavailable for the appropriate time period: unacceptable solutions, coupled with a confusing World bank prospectus for action when more research is needed. Intersectorial collaboration has not provided answers to priorities or addressed the interactions among nutrition and agricultural policy, education and lifestyle, water and sanitation and the economy. The research agenda should include: the identification of the determinants of health, key elements of primary health care (PHC), cost of delivering PHC, hospital efficiency, health manpower mix, adequate procurement and distribution, appropriate technology, user charges for financing, health insurance, and community financing.