Philosopher Launches Global Health Impact Initiative

The Global Health Impact is an initiative created by Nicole Hassoun, associate professor of philosophy at SUNY Binghamton, that evaluates and compares the health impact of medicine. The site assigns “impact scores” to various drugs based on how much good they do (explained here) and presents the information sorted by disease, drug, country, and pharmaceutical company. Hassoun was at World Health Organization (W.H.O) headquarters this past Friday to launch the initiative. She writes, “the Global Health Impact index ranks companies on the basis of their drugs’ impact on alleviating the global burden of malaria, tuberculosis, and HIV/AIDS. We believe that this index will be useful to policymakers, researchers, companies, investors, consumers, and others interested in promoting global health.”

One hoped-for effect of the initiative is to encourage drug companies to do more to address these diseases, as is explained in a brief story about it on the public radio program Marketplace. An article in Capital Magazine provides some further information:

“This is the first rigorous evaluation of actual amount of death and disability the companies’ drugs are alleviating, and it can hopefully motivate these pharmaceutical companies to do more to address these needs,” Hassoun told Capital…

Ultimately, the index aims to calculate how much impact the companies have on preventing deaths and disabilities from the three diseases worldwide…

“We would like it to guide health care policy and incentivize new innovations that will help extend access to essential medicines around the world,” Hassoun said. “I do think that corporations have human rights responsibilities to address the access to medicines issues, along with governments and international organizations.”

The Global Health Impact does not accept funding from the pharmaceutical industry.

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