Preventative Treatments

577 words | 2 page(s)

Policy makers have recently discussed the possibility of delivering preventative treatments, such as vaccines against malaria at subsidized prices in developing countries. The justification for this policy conception is a simple one. “Vaccines are among the most cost-effective interventions in health care, but economic factors may interfere with their optimal development and delivery in both industrialized and developing countries (Lieu, p. 6).” Within developing countries, the primary economic factor associated with the disbursement of vaccinations is the increasing financial cost of the vaccinations, something that is unattainable by many without subsidization (Lieu, 2005). The secondary factor is the low profit margins for vaccinations (Lieu, p. 671). “Low procurement prices lead to low profit margins (Lieu, p. 671);”unfortunately, the field of preventative healthcare is concentrated around the premise of making a profit. Without profit, drugs would not be created, and without profit, the provision of drugs, including vaccinations, is decreased in quantity offered.

Much needs to be accomplished throughout the world in order to fulfill the vaccination goals set by WHO and UNICEF, and it is not clear as to whether or not such a subsidization program will suffice for the task (UNICEF, 2013). As an alternative program of implementation, individuals in a developed country who receive a vaccine, or whose children receive a vaccine could be given the option of donating for the purposes of providing vaccinations to individuals in developing countries, being able to provide the vaccines at no cost to the individuals within the developing country. Given the proliferation of St. Jude pieces of paper that decorate the walls of gas stations and restaurants alike, there is no indication that such a plan would not work to provide enough vaccinations through donation for developing countries to receive the necessary medicines without having to pay to obtain them.

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Analysts are able to assess short and long term impacts on the health and development of children who do and do not receive vaccinations throughout a statistical analysis completed by UNICEF each year (UNICEF, 2013). This report works to identify the areas that have received vaccinations, the health statistics for those areas, while working at the same time to detail the health statistics and the vaccination rates for areas where vaccinations are not common (UNICEF, 2013). While this does raise many challenges, such as determining the exact factors present within the area associated with illness and death, it does offer a clearer picture of the causalities present within a given area, affording researchers the necessary statistics to determine what must be done for a given area.

I do not believe that either of these programs would be sustainable in the long term, though I believe that both policies would be sustainable in the short term. Given the fact that there are a set number of developing countries, it may be possible to sustain the programs long enough to address the vaccination needs of the current developing countries; however vaccine subsidy in the U.S. shows that the program does not always work (Hinman, Orenstein, & Rodewald, 2004). Given these previous failures it is unlikely that this policy of subsidization would be sustainable, though it would work to do some good initially. In order to determine which policy is the best to implement, a policy maker would need to clearly review all available policies and options, determining the policy that works to benefit the most people while causing the least harm. Once this decision has been made, the determination could be made on the policy to implement.

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