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  1. 1

    Biotechnology and the Third World: caveat emptor.

    Dembo D; Dias C; Morehouse W

    Development: Seeds of Change. 1987; (4):11-8.

    3 basic categories of institutions in research and development (R&D) of biotechnology include universities, small biotechnology R&D venture capital financed firms, and transnational corporations in the US and other more developed countries (MDCs). Almost 24 transnationals, which predominantly manufacture pharmaceuticals and petrochemicals, lead the biotechnology industry by contracting research arrangements with universities or venture capital financed firms or by establishing their own R&D, manufacturing, and marketing activities in biotechnology. On the other hand, in less developed countries (LDCs), the private sector plays no role or a relatively small role in biotechnology. National level government programs are developing biotechnology capabilities in some LDCs, however. In MDCs, the move towards privatization of biotechnology, especially with the ability to patent technologies, restricts the free flow of research information, thereby inhibiting the diversity and pace of technological innovation, widening the technological gap between MDCs and LDCs, and thus maintaining LDCs' dependence on MDCs. The leading role of transnational corporations in biotechnology R&D causes skewed research priorities that the corporations determine based on their own global strategies. These research priorities are determined by potential profit, and not by the needs of the LDCs. Even though products of biotechnology have the capability to improve the lives of many in the world, they displace more traditional products of LDCs. For example, sugar will soon be displaced by immobilized enzyme technology produced high fructose, therefore affecting the economies and poor of sugar exporting nations. LDCs must act now so as not to fall behind in the biotechnology revolution, such as establishing their relevance at the grass roots level.
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  2. 2
    Peer Reviewed

    Excerpts from the WHO Code for the Marketing of Breast-Milk Substitutes.

    World Health Organization [WHO]

    BIRTH. 1985 Winter; 12(4):243-4.

    This article sets forth excerpts from the World Health Organization (WHO) Code for the Marketing of Breastmilk Substitutes. The purpose of these guidelines is to ensure that infant formula is not marketed or distributed in ways that interfere with the protection and promotion of breastfeeding. It is specified that informational and educational materials dealing with infant feeding practices should include clear material on the following points: 1) the benefits and superiority of breastfeeding, 2) maternal nutrition in preparation for breastfeeding, 3) the negative effect on breastfeeding of the introduction of partial bottlefeeding, 4) the difficulty of reversing the decision not to breastfeed, and 5) the proper use of infant formula. Materials on infant formula should include the social and financial implications of its use, the health hazards of inappropriate foods, and the health hazards of unnecessary or improper use of infant formula. Donations of educational equipment or materials by manufacturers or distributors of infant formula should be made only at the request of the appropriate government authority and should be distributed only through the health care system. There should be no advertising or other promotion to the general public of infant formula products. Manufacturers should not provide samples of products to pregnant women or mothers, and there should be no point-of-sale advertising or giving of samples or gifts. No health care facility may be used for the purpose of promoting infant formula, and health care workers are expected to encourage and protect breastfeeding. Information provided to health professionals by manufacturers and distributors of infant formula should be restricted to scientific and factual matters and should not imply that bottlefeeding is equivalent or superior to breastfeeding.
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  3. 3

    Oral rehydration salts: an analysis of AID's options.

    Elliott V

    [Columbia Maryland], Westinghouse Electric Corporation, Public Applied Systems, 1984 Sep. 26, [13] p. (Contract No. PDC-1406-I-02-4062-00, W.0.2; Project No. 936-5939-12)

    Westinghouse Health Systems, under a US Agency for International Development (USAID) contract, ass ssed the global supply and demand of oral rehydration salts (ORS) and developed a set of recommendations concerning USAID's future role as a supplier of ORS. 1.5 billion ORS packets (assuming each packet is equivalent to 1 liter of ORS solution) would be required to treat all ORS treatable cases of diarrhea which occur annually among the world's children under 5 years of age. Currently, about 200 million packets are manufactured/year. In 1983, international sources supplied slightly less than 37 million packets, and the remaining packets were produced by local or in-country manufacturers. UN Children's Fund (UNICEF), which currently provides 81% of the international supply, contracts with private firms to manufacture ORS and then distributes the packets to developing countries, either at cost or free of charge. UNICEF purchases the packets for about US$.04-US$.05. USAID provides about 12.3% of the international supply. Prior to 1981, USAID distributed UNICEF packets. Since 1981, USAID has distributed ORS packets manufactured by the US firm of Jianas Brothers. USAID must pay a relatively high price for the packets (US$.08-US$.09) since the manufacturer is required to produce the packets on an as needed basis. Other international suppliers of ORS include the International Dispensary Association, the Swedish International Development Authority, the International Red Cross, and the World Health Organization. Currently, 38 developing countries manufacture and distrubute their own ORS products. These findings indicate that there is a need to increase the supply of ORS; however, the supply and demand in the future is unpredictable. Factors which may alter the supply and demand in the future include 1) the development of superior alternative formulations and different type of ORS products, 2) a reduction in the incidence of diarrhea due to improved environmental conditions or the development of a vaccine for diarrhea, 3) increased production of ORS in developing countries, 4) increased commercial sector involvement in the production and sale of ORS products, and 5) the use of more effective marketing techniques and more efficient distribution systems for ORS products. USAID options as a future supplier of ORS include 1) purchasing and distributing UNICEF packets; 2) contracting with a US firm to develop a central procurement system, similar to USAID's current contraceptive procurement system; 3) contracting with the a US firm to establish a ORS stockpile of a specified amount; 4) promoting private and public sector production of ORS within developing countries; 5) including ORS as 1 of the commodities available to all USAID assisted countries. The investigators recommended that USAID should contribute toward increasing the global supply of ORS; however, given the unpredictability of the ORS demand and supply, USAID should adopt a short-term and flexible strategy. This strategy precludes the establishment of a central procurement system; instead, USAID should contract a private firm to establish an ORS stockpile and to fill orders from the stockpile. Consideration should be given to altering the ORS packets size and to alternative ORS presentations. USAID should also promote the production of quality ORS products within developing countries and continue to support research on other diarrhea intervention strategies. This report also discusses some of the problems involved in manufacturing and packaging ORS. The appendices contain 1) a WHO and UNICEF statement on the ORS formulation made with citrate instead of bicarbonate, 2) a list of developing countries which manufacture ORS, and 3) statistical information on distribution of ORS by international sources.
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  4. 4

    The disabled consumer: how multinational corporations affect the Third World.

    Medawar C

    In: Shirley O, ed. A cry for health. Poverty and disability in the Third World. Frome, England, Third World Group for Disabled People, 1983. 73-8.

    Disability in developing countries is largely a social, political and economic disease, a symptom of underlying conditions of great injustice and inequality. The author asks to what extent do the multinational corporations (MNCs) sustain poverty and disability in developing countries. MNCs usually operate within environments where the emphasis in national development and growth is overwhelmingly on the security and prosperity of the relatively welathy minority. There is no international supervision over MNCs at all and control within the developing country tends to be weak since home governments have a vested interest in earning foreign exchange. Also, MNCs are extremely effective in making and marketing goods and in persuading people that these goods bring advantage to them. The multinational pharmaceutical industry represents concentrated capacity and wealth; just 10 companies control 25% of the world's total drug production while the top 110 companies control 90% of the total. By contrast, the average developing country represents concentrated incapacity and ill-health. There is distortion of national health priorities in many developing countries in that most of the drugs which are bought and sold are not essential. In addition, multinational drug companies usually observe lower standards in developing countries than elsewhere. An example is provided of the sale of Lomotil to control diarrhea in developing countries by G.D. Searle, a pharmaceutical manufacturer. Lomotil is an anti-diarrheal drug; it doesn't treat the condition that caused the diarrhea in the 1st place. It was found by the World Health Organization that this drug was not appropriate for the type of diarrhea found in developing countries, and a leaflet was produced by the US Food and Drug Administration to that effect.
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  5. 5


    United States. Agency for International Development [USAID]. Bureau for Program and Policy Coordination

    Washington, D.C., Agency for International Development, 1983 May. 16 p. (A.I.D. Policy Paper)

    Cofinancing is a useful method of development finance that offers the potential for increasing the effectiveness of the US Agency for International Development's (USAID) resources by broadening the scope of investment opportunities beyond those that are within its singular capacity. Cofinancing is any formal arrangement under which USAID loan and/or grant funds are associated with funds from one or more different sources (private or public) outside the borrowing country to finance a particular program. Cofinancing may be used to leverage USAID resources with those of the external private sector as well as to facilitate the transfer of skills and technology. The Development Assistance Committee (DAC) of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) has viewed cofinancing primarily in the context of its ability to improve the quality of assistance (additionality). Multilateral Development Bank (MDB) participation in USAID-sponsored cofinancing arrangements should generally be in the form of at risk lending as a means of enhancing the prospects for additionality over the medium to longer term. While USAID in appropriate conditions is willing to provide relief, it will not generally link its loans to those of other cofinancing participants through the use of mandatory cross-default clauses but may use optional cross-default clauses in the case of private lenders. In addition to advantages in the application of development assistance resources, cofinancing offers the potential for enhancing the effectiveness of USAID's policy dialogue with the respective less developed countries (IDCs). Although cofinancing has a number of potential advantages, particular care should be exercised to insure that cofinancing does not become an end itself, but rather remains a mechanism among other alternatives to be utilized when it represents the most efficient application of USAID resources in the context of the development objectives of country-specific strategies.
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