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  • IMPROVING PHARMACEUTICAL INDUSTRY IN AFRICA: A WAY TO REMOVE FINANCIAL BARRIERS TO MEDICINES

    Africa's pharmaceutical industry is rapidly growing, as its  broader economy. This growth is driven by a small number of countries: South Africa, Nigeria, Ghana, some Eastern African countries and North Africa. Other emerging countries around the world are showing their capacities in the pharmaceutical sector: during the last years, China's pharmaceutical industry  has grown 20%, Russia's 14%, India's 11% and Brazil's 7%.

    The African pharmaceutical sector’s growth stems from increasing number of Africans with high incomes and spending power, fast urbanization and economic growth in most parts of the continent. It is important to highlight that investments in the pharmaceutical sector are investments in the health sector, which also means immense job creation prospects all along the pharmaceutical value chain.

    The African pharmaceutical industry is based more on small and privately owned companies, which serve their national markets, than large manufacturers (as Aspen in South Africa) or public sector manufacturers, which are less developed on the ground.

    Africa suffers from the worst diseases in the world: 75% of the worldwide HIV/AIDS cases, 90% of the deaths from malaria and the majority of tuberculosis cases are all in Africa. These data clarify that the need of drugs is an emergency. In addition, there is an increasing number of non-communicable diseases which raise the need of specialized medical services and treatments.

    Inorder to remove financial barriers to medicines and enhance access to essential medicines, it is necessary to develop the pharmaceutical industry on the continent. The African Development Bank is promoting an agenda to support its regional member countries towards the achievement of several goals: improving access to affordable and quality medicines, job creation in the pharmaceutical sector, dialogue between private and public actors in order to face the challenges that the sector is posing to the African economy.

     

    The gLAWcal Team

    Tuesday, June 10, 2014

    (Source: All Africa)

    This news has been realized by gLAWcal—Global Law Initiatives for Sustainable Development in collaboration with the University Institute of European Studies (IUSE) in Turin, Italy and the University of Piemonte Orientale, Novara, Italy which are both beneficiaries of the European Union Research Executive Agency IRSES Project “Liberalism in Between Europe And China” (LIBEAC) coordinated by Aix-Marseille University (CEPERC). This work has been realized in the framework of Workpackages 4, coordinated by University Institute of European Studies (IUSE) in Turin, Italy.

  • PROF. DANIEL MCFADDEN: IT IS IMPORTANT TO IMPROVE THE PUBLIC HEALTHCARE SECTOR IN CHINA

    Daniel McFadden, presidential professor of Health Economics and Policy at the University of Southern California, argues that Chinese healthcare reform can improve the country’s economy. The government has recently published a guideline to support the healthcare reform this year, in order to improve 31 health fields.

    The statement said that this guideline will be able to improve medical services in public hospitals and adjust their prices, enhance medicine purchasing in country level hospitals and settle policies for the traditional Chinese medicine. Professor McFadden believes that the reforms would improve the situation in the cities, while they would not work very well in some rural areas, where the government has to face many challenges on the health issue.

    He has underlined that, in these last years, China’s growth is mainly related to the exporting sector than the domestic consumption, a strategy that cannot be continued indefinitely. Due to a weak system of social insurance, individual savings rates have been extremely high in China, a thing that has driven people not to spend their money.

    According to McFadden, who received the 2000 Nobel Prize in Economics for developing methods and theory used in analyzing how consumers and households make choices from sets of discrete alternatives, it is necessary to have an improved consumer sector in which citizens spend the money they earn on goods rather than saving that money for the health costs in the future.

    The Chinese government is taking measures to encourage the opening of private hospitals, but the Nobel laureate thinks that  health sector is one of the sectors in the economy where the public control is actually important.

    The most efficient healthcare systems around the world, in terms of keeping people healthy and less costly, are the ones where the community medical providers are either employed by the government or employed by companies that are largely contracting with the government and not operating as separate businesses, as McFadden said.

     

    The gLAWcal Team

    Friday, June 6, 2014

    (Source: Want China Times)

    This news has been realized by gLAWcal—Global Law Initiatives for Sustainable Development in collaboration with the University Institute of European Studies (IUSE) in Turin, Italy and the University of Piemonte Orientale, Novara, Italy which are both beneficiaries of the European Union Research Executive Agency IRSES Project “Liberalism in Between Europe And China” (LIBEAC) coordinated by Aix-Marseille University (CEPERC). This work has been realized in the framework of Workpackages 4, coordinated by University Institute of European Studies (IUSE) in Turin, Italy.

  • ALARMING SITUATION: CHINESE GROUNDWATER POLLUTION

    Currently, sixty percent of Chinese population gets drinking water from groundwater, often untreated in rural areas. Data show that 360 million people in rural regions drink water that does not meet the minimum conditions, and 20% of groundwater sources for municipal water supplies do not respect standards.

    The majority of families in villages in Henan province, central China, relies on well water. At the same time, it is also a common fact that the presence of polluting manufactures built near the villages is one of the main threats of water pollution.

    Studies have shown the impact in this region of the Shengguang Group, the world’s biggest manufacturer of drips and syringes built just several hundred metres away from the villages. This factory is a key element for the Henan’s economy, selling medical supplies throughout China and to 40 countries in Europe and South-East Asia. On the other hand, the huge quantities of waste water from the manufacturing process are the main cause of severe groundwater pollution.

    Today, groundwater pollution is one of the most urgent issues affecting the Chinese environment and safety.

    For this reason, Chinese law strongly prohibits the dumping of effluent underground. The Water Pollution Prevention Law forbids the dispersal of harmful waste water or other pollutants in the ground.

    According to the law, local environmental authorities are able to impose fines in case of pollution and if the offending company fails to make remediation, they can designate a third party to carry out the work at the offending company’s expense. However, the majority of cases result just in a fine.

    The improper disposal of industrial and domestic effluent are the main causes of groundwater pollution, but also other sources of pollution such as agricultural pesticides, fertilizer and mining waste play a central role.

    Data also show that Shengguang is not the only company that is polluting groundwater. In 2011 media reported that in the Hebei county of Yuanshi several chemical plants had been found to be dumping water containing chemical contaminants, causing groundwater pollution and forcing ten thousand locals to buy drinking water.

    The framework of Chinese groundwater is complex and vague. The China Geological Survey has published a map of groundwater pollution but this only marks an indication of the quality of groundwater across large regions. In northern China pollution of groundwater is both common and worsening. The south-west and north-west of the country, less affected by human activity, records lower levels of water pollution.

    In this context, experts alarmingly warn about the strong impact of water pollution on human health.

    Shenqiu county, in the Henan municipality of Zhoukou, is famous around China due to the high incidence of cancer in the villages. Although the region lies on the Shaying River, a major tributary of the Huai, residents rely on groundwater for their daily use. For years the Shaying has been the main focus of efforts to clean up the Huai, with many smaller polluting factories forced to close or move. Despite these efforts, the total amount of pollution has not been sufficiently brought under control.

     

    The gLAWcal Team

    Thursday, 5 June 2014

    (Source: Chinadialogue)

  • CHINA RAISING ITS SUBSIDIES FOR HEALTH COVERAGE TO HELP RURAL AREAS HIT BY HEALTHCARE EXPENDITURES

    Chinese government is keen to enhance its social safety net through raising subsidies for basic medical coverage for all. Those subsidies will be increased by 40 yuan to 320 yuan this year and will be allocated among residents in both rural and urban areas, as the Chinese Ministry of Finance said.

    Due to high out-of-pocket expenditures which force poor people in rural areas to spend so much money for covering healthcare costs, the government is driving its subsidies for only relatively mild illnesses and not catastrophic diseases to rural residents, who are going to receive more help from the administration.

    According to the experts, China’s attempt to rebalance the disparity in social-insurance coverage will help the population spend more, a thing that can stimulate economic growth. In 2009, the government tried to set up an universal health insurance system to cover its citizens and enhance the access to care. Unfortunately, this healthcare reform has shown its lacks. Robin Kerawala, a pharmaceutical expert and co-founding partner of Shanghai-based consultancy SmithStreet, argued that people get an higher health coverage in urban areas than those in rural areas.

    People from the counties still travel across the country to city hospitals, because treatments at home are not available or are not enough compared to urban standards. The result has been overcrowded city hospitals, where people spend days and even weeks waiting for appointments in overflowing waiting rooms.

    The Chinese administration is trying to get a better coverage through a funding system that relies on a mix of employee and employer contributions. According to the Ministry of Finance, contributions to China's social insurance fund, including medical, pension and unemployment are increasing. Indeed, each resident will contribute 20 yuan more to his or her social insurance this year.

     

    The gLAWcal Team

    Wednesday, June 11, 2014

    (Source: The Wall Street Journal)

    This news has been realized by gLAWcal—Global Law Initiatives for Sustainable Development in collaboration with the University Institute of European Studies (IUSE) in Turin, Italy and the University of Piemonte Orientale, Novara, Italy which are both beneficiaries of the European Union Research Executive Agency IRSES Project “Liberalism in Between Europe And China” (LIBEAC) coordinated by Aix-Marseille University (CEPERC). This work has been realized in the framework of Workpackages 4, coordinated by University Institute of European Studies (IUSE) in Turin, Italy.

  • CHINESE PRIVATE HEALTHCARE SECTOR AS AN EXPERIMENTAL FIELD

    Murali Gangadharan, Head of Research at PriceWaterhouseCoopers in Shanghai, said that China, due to the lacks in public hospitals’ services, is looking at the healthcare sector as an industry, while – in the past - it was considered as a social sector. The government and investment firms argued that China’s public healthcare infrastructure is unable to satisfy demands, which have been increased due to the raising affluent middle class and the aging population.

    Last December, the Chinese administration called for more private investments in the healthcare sector and declared healthcare removed from the list of restricted investment sectors. Private healthcare investment firms are coming up in such a sector, where patients have to queue for a long time to receive a bad hospital care. The system is in many ways inadequate in serving the public’s needs. For instance, in public hospitals, consultations last an average of five minutes, compared to more than 20 minutes in the USA.

    China’s healthcare sector is divided between several public hospitals, private hospitals, foreign hospitals and clinics, either through joint ventures or full ownership. China’s population resorts to the country’s large public hospitals, where they are available. The best services are usually associated with universities, such as Peking Uni­versity in Beijing or Fudan University in Shanghai.

    Owing to the fact that public services are not enough to face the raised demands, more efforts have to be done in order to improve the private healthcare sector: doctors should be enticed to work in private settings and consumers should be able to trust doctors in private facilities.

    The trust issue is related to doctors’ salary. In 2011, a survey, conducted by the China Medical Doctor’s Association, showed that the majority of the doctors were not satisfied with their salaries and working conditions. According to the survey’s data, doctors made an average of RMB 2,000 per month. That is the reason why many doctors have supplemented their low salaries with bribes from patients and kickbacks from pharmaceutical firms, overprescribing medications and treatments to generate income.

    China’s healthcare privatization is still in the experimental phase. Two aspects must be highlighted: China should experiment nursing homes or skilled nursing facilities, where patients’ care can easily be administered by a nurse or other similarly certified professional in a different setting than a public hospital. Foreign owned hospitals or clinics could play an important role on the matter: the ideal arrangement would be the establishment of a referral system between the local public hospital and various categories of step-down care facilities.

    The second aspect is referred to the ageing issue. The China National Committee on Aging said that, by 2053,  the number of China’s senior citizens is expected to grow to 487 million people, or 35% of the population, compared to just over 12% now. The adult children of aging parents are not practicing the traditional parental care methods anymore. Due to the fact that they are busy and employed, they are keen to spend money to solve the problem. According to Jim Moore, the founder of Moore Diversified Services Inc. (MDS), a US-based consultancy in senior care, foreign investment firms could entry in the Chinese field of senior housing and acute senior care facilities.

     

    The gLAWcal Team
    Monday, June 2, 2014
    (Source: CKGSB KNOWLEDGE)

    This news has been realized by gLAWcal—Global Law Initiatives for Sustainable Development in collaboration with the University Institute of European Studies (IUSE) in Turin, Italy and the University of Piemonte Orientale, Novara, Italy which are both beneficiaries of the European Union Research Executive Agency IRSES Project “Liberalism in Between Europe And China” (LIBEAC) coordinated by Aix-Marseille University (CEPERC). This work has been realized in the framework of Workpackages 4, coordinated by University Institute of European Studies (IUSE) in Turin, Italy.

  • THE SIGNIFICANT CHANGES OF THE MIGRATION PATTERNS IN CHINA

    A new report has shown that China has recently stressed its commitment working with the international community to overcome the increase in the number of people heading to the country, one of the major challenges caused by changing migration patterns.

    The 2013 World Migration Report has shown that there were 685,775 migrants to China in 2010, an increase of 35 percent from 2000. Additionally, data have revealed that the number of foreigners holding residence permits in China in 2010 rose by about 29 percent, compared with the figure for 2006.

    In relation to that, irregular migration management and a shortage of skilled migrants represent the most urgent and challenging issues that the Chinese government has to face.

    According to the report, in recent years China was not only a place of origin of migrants to other countries, but also a country of transit and destination for migrants, particularly due to rapid economic growth and demographic changes.

    The report has also highlighted that the International Organization for Migration (IOM) has supported the Ministry of Public Security in China, providing expertise and cutting-edge technology for migration management, stressing also the importance to think about migration in terms of human mobility and to recognize basic human needs. Moreover, the IOM has strongly helped Chinese authorities to significantly reduce the number of illegal immigrants. In this way, the objective of the organization is to create dialogue between countries and reduce immigration tension before it became a political matter.

    Recently, the organization has played a crucial role in many cases of human trafficking from African and South American countries to China repatriating those being trafficked who were mostly women.

    In addition to that, the report has also observed the significant change of the dominant pattern of people migrating from developing to developed countries: less than half of global migration currently occurs from the developing to the developed countries. As a consequence, the number of people who migrate from developed to developing countries has importantly increased.

    The enormous economic growth has made China an increasingly attractive destination, leading to a rise in wages and greater demand for foreign labor However, this economic development was not reflected proportionately in the number of foreigners working in the country.

    In this context, a Beijing think tank - the Center for China and Globalization - has stressed that the government has the task to undertake changes in order to establish a more friendly and attractive environment for foreign talent, as an incentive to drive the country’s development.

     

    The gLAWcal Team

    Wednesday, 4 June 2014

    (Source: ChinaDaily)

  • PHARMACEUTICAL INDUSTRY ISSUE DISCUSSED AT THE EUROPEAN BUSINESS SUMMIT 2014

    Europe's pharmaceutical industry employs around 700,000 people and stands for 17% of Europe's investments in research and development. The industry is trying to increase the EU's industrial GDP target and the EU should make this goal a priority to keep a sustainable environment for the industry,  as representatives stated at the European Business Summit 2014 on Thursday 15 May.

    Paola Testori Coggi, director-general of DG Health and Consumers (SANCO), said that the Commission has made excellent proposals for a new regulation for the pharmaceutical industry, but that the proposals are sometimes prevented by the Council and member states. As she told pharmaceutical manufactures, health ministers often have a weak voice in government and most of them are keen to cut healthcare costs, even though they usually argue that health is an investment for their countries.

    The pharmaceutical industry has helped EU citizens live longer lives, but in order to also keep making them live longer and healthier lives, member states need to have a fully integrated and sustainable healthcare approach.

    The European Federation of Pharmaceutical Industries and Associations (EFPIA) and the European Generic medicines Association (EGA) jointly presented proposals to the Summit for an integrated EU industrial policy for the pharmaceutical sector.

    It is important to recognize that medicines are essential to improve patient outcomes and equity of access to healthcare across Europe. It is necessary to support a more sustainable and predictable business environment to incentivize the pharmaceutical industry to invest in bringing better and more cost-effective treatments to patients and  improve an environment that will make the EU an attractive global environment for pharmaceutical research and manufacturing.

     

    The gLAWcal Team

    Thursday, June 5, 2014

    (Source: Pharma Times)

    This news has been realized by gLAWcal—Global Law Initiatives for Sustainable Development in collaboration with the University Institute of European Studies (IUSE) in Turin, Italy and the University of Piemonte Orientale, Novara, Italy which are both beneficiaries of the European Union Research Executive Agency IRSES Project “Liberalism in Between Europe And China” (LIBEAC) coordinated by Aix-Marseille University (CEPERC). This work has been realized in the framework of Workpackages 4, coordinated by University Institute of European Studies (IUSE) in Turin, Italy.

  • USA TURNING POINT TO ADDRESS CLIMATE CHANGE IMPACT

    The US government has recently announced the launch of a new plan to cut carbon pollution from power plants and promote cap-and-trade, that will represent the most ambitious and challenging action to fight climate change in American history.

    The new strategy will be a concrete instrument to reduce carbon pollution by as much as 25% from about 1,600 power plants in operation, the government says.

    Data show that power plants are the major source of carbon pollution causing 40% of the country's emissions.

    The new plan drafted by the Environmental Protection Agency has been welcomed as a turning point to significantly curb the carbon dioxide emissions responsible for climate change.

    According to the US President Barack Obama, the new program will drive the country to concretely reach its climate commitments, in line with the international environmental goals. In relation to this, the new plan stresses the US aim to be at the forefront in the global framework to stop pollution, addressing the criticism expressed by some groups about the possible negative cost of cutting carbon.

    Moreover, the plan will represent a step forward overcoming the historical US denial about the impact of climate change mostly due to the strong opposition of Republicans and some Democrats in Congress and to an industry-funded misinformation campaign. In this way, this strategy could entail important emission reductions guiding the country near the 17% Obama proposed at the Copenhagen climate summit.

    The objective to reduce pollution would be achieved closing the oldest and most polluting coal plants. As the EPA administrator has outlined, the plan will allow states leeway in the concrete measures to reach the reduction targets, such as the installation of carbon-sucking retrofits, the development of wind and solar energy and the improvement of the electrical grid.

    As the government has highlighted, this program will represent the first concrete climate action plan to strongly cut pollution by building a clean energy economy and driving in this way the energy system to be less carbon intensive.

    As climate change represents one of the main threat for human health, the new regulations, the core pillar of Obama's climate plan, would cut down on soot and smog as well as carbon dioxide emissions, with significant benefits for thousands of Americans.

     

    The gLAWcal Team

    Monday, 2 June 2014

    (Source: The Guardian)

  • GLOBAL FORCED LABOUR GENERATES $150BN A YEAR IN ILLEGAL PROFITS

    According to the UN's International Labour Organisation, the figure is three times higher than previously thought

    Forced labour generates illegal profits of $150bn a year worldwide. Millions of people face lucrative scale of exploitation and they are trapped in modern-day slavery, coerced employment and trafficking.

    The study made by UN's International Labour Organization revealed that almost two-third of the total profits are generated by commercial sexual exploitation, and the rest  come from forced economic labour, such as domestic work, construction and mining.

    Based on ILO's estimation, more than half of the 21 million people experiencing forced labour, trafficking and modern-day slavery are women and girls mainly in commercial sexual exploitation. Whilst, men are mostly exploited in agriculture, construction, manufacturing, utilities and mining- sectors that add up to $43bn of the annual illegal profits. Private households that either do not pay or underpay domestic workers are responsible for the remaining $8bn.

    The Asia-Pacific region has the highest annual profits from forced labour (($51.8bn), followed closely by the developed economies and the EU($46.9bn), then central and south-eastern Europe and the Commonwealth of Independent States($18bn);, Africa($13.1bn);, Latin America and the Caribbean($12bn) and the Middle East($8.5bn).

    The main factors which push people into forced labour are sudden income shocks, while illiteracy, a lack of education, gender and migration are contributory factors in the process.

    According to ILO director-general, Guy Ryder, the study helps reach  better comprehension of forced labour and slavery to a new level and urged leaders to redouble their efforts to eliminate this fundamentally evil, but extremely profitable practice.

    'If we want to make a significant change in the lives of the 21 million men, women and children in forced labour, we need to take concrete and immediate action,' he said. 'That means working with governments to strengthen law, policy and enforcement, with employers to strengthen their due diligence against forced labour, including in their supply chains, and with trade unions to represent and empower those at risk.'

    Beate Andrees, the head of the ILO'S special action programme to combat forced labour stressed the significance of reducing the vulnerability of unprivileged people most at risk. 'While progress is being made in reducing state-imposed forced labour, we must now focus on the socioeconomic factors that make people vulnerable to forced labour in the private sector,' she said.

    Furthemore, Andrees delineated crucial measures, including social security guarantees to protect poor households from abusive lending or indenture, improving educational level and investing in training to increase job opportunities for vulnerable workers, protecting and promoting the rights of migrant workers.

    Aidan McQuade, director of Anti-Slavery International, highlighted the fact that the report revealed not only the persistence of slavery in the world, but also the modern economy's  dependence on it. 'We have to realise that the problem of slavery is one that touches us all, as in a globalised economy we all buy products likely to be tainted by forced labour,' he said.

    This is the reason why the urgent actions should be taken immediately. A good exemplary can be the introduction of the UK government's modern slavery bill extraterritorial legislation to force business executives responsible for slavery in their supply chains, and by supporting a binding protocol on the International Labour Organization convention on forced labour to strengthen international standards against it.

    The process is especially shocking, as human trafficking is the fastest-growing form of international crime and the third-largest criminal industry in the world.

     

    The gLAWcal team

    The 20th of May 2014

    (Source: The Guardian)