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Should new antimalarial drugs be subsidized?

Author

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  • Laxminarayan, Ramanan
  • Parry, Ian W.H.
  • Smith, David L.
  • Klein, Eili Y.

Abstract

Malaria kills over a million people each year. The loss of chloroquine due to the spread of parasite resistance is largely responsible for the resurgence of malaria. A new class of antimalarial drugs called artemisinins are available, but are unaffordable to most people in malaria-endemic countries and may quickly face the same fate as chloroquine unless they are combined with a partner drug. Subsidies for artemisinin combination treatments may be warranted on second-best grounds as they deter use of single-ingredient drugs, for which externalities from the risk of resistance evolution are larger. Furthermore, by expanding total effective drug use, subsidies reduce infection transmission externalities among individuals. However, use of combination treatments could still lead to drug resistance and the subsidies themselves entail welfare consequences. This paper develops a conceptual and numerical framework for understanding the conditions under which subsidies for artemisinin combinations can be justified on economic efficiency grounds.

Suggested Citation

  • Laxminarayan, Ramanan & Parry, Ian W.H. & Smith, David L. & Klein, Eili Y., 2010. "Should new antimalarial drugs be subsidized?," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 29(3), pages 445-456, May.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:jhecon:v:29:y:2010:i:3:p:445-456
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Laxminarayan, Ramanan, 2003. "ACT Now or Later: The Economics of Malaria Resistance," Discussion Papers dp-03-51, Resources For the Future.
    2. Darius Lakdawalla & Tomas Philipson & Y. Richard Wang, 2006. "Intellectual Property and Marketing," NBER Working Papers 12577, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    3. Chima, Reginald Ikechukwu & Goodman, Catherine A. & Mills, Anne, 2003. "The economic impact of malaria in Africa: a critical review of the evidence," Health Policy, Elsevier, vol. 63(1), pages 17-36, January.
    4. Tomas Philipson & Stephane Mechoulan, 2003. "Intellectual Property & External Consumption Effects: Generalizations from Pharmaceutical Markets," NBER Working Papers 9598, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    5. Rudholm, Niklas, 2002. "Economic implications of antibiotic resistance in a global economy," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 21(6), pages 1071-1083, November.
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    Cited by:

    1. Jean-Claude Berthelemy & Josselin Thuilliez, 2014. "The economics of malaria in Africa," Université Paris1 Panthéon-Sorbonne (Post-Print and Working Papers) hal-01045213, HAL.
    2. Srivastava, Divya & McGuire, Alistair, 2015. "Patient access to health care and medicines across low-income countries," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 133(C), pages 21-27.
    3. Schaefer, K. Aleks, 2016. "Anti-Malarial Biotechnology, Drug Resistance, and the Dynamics of Disease Management," 2016 Annual Meeting, July 31-August 2, 2016, Boston, Massachusetts 235716, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association.
    4. Divya Srivastava & Alistair McGuire, 2016. "The determinants of access to health care and medicines in India," Applied Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 48(17), pages 1618-1632, April.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Antimalarial drugs Resistance externality Transmission externality Subsidies Welfare effects;

    JEL classification:

    • I18 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - Government Policy; Regulation; Public Health
    • H23 - Public Economics - - Taxation, Subsidies, and Revenue - - - Externalities; Redistributive Effects; Environmental Taxes and Subsidies
    • O15 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Economic Development: Human Resources; Human Development; Income Distribution; Migration

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