Priority-Setting in Health: Building Institutions for Smarter Public Spending

Author
Amanda Glassman, Kalipso Chalkidou
Content Type
Policy Brief
Institution
Center for Global Development
Abstract
Health donors, policymakers, and practitioners continuously make life-and-death decisions about which type of patients receive what interventions, when, and at what cost. These decisions—as consequential as they are—often result from ad hoc, nontransparent processes driven more by inertia and interest groups than by science, ethics, and the public interest. The result is perverse priorities, wasted money, and needless death and illness. Examples abound: In India, only 44 percent of children 1 to 2 years old are fully vaccinated, yet open-heart surgery is subsidized in national public hospitals. In Colombia, 58 percent of children are fully vaccinated, but public monies subsidize treating breast cancer with Avastin, a brand-name medicine considered ineffective and unsafe for this purpose in the United States.
Topic
Development, Health, Foreign Aid
Political Geography
United States, India, Colombia