TAG scrutinizes research, policy and prices, Paul Ryan eyes foreign aid, the Global Commission on Drug Policy highlights Hepatitis, and more . . . We’re reading pieces that deserve a second look

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NewWWRTAGline– Treatment Action Group takes a skeptical look at taglineresearch and policy in its April Fools Day-released TAGline, highlighting issues, requiring “some degree of advocacy to remedy and ensure that the jokes don’t remain on us.” Among them, publicly funded research that leads to breakthroughs at private pharmaceutical companies that leads to high priced products, that lead to short-changed public health . . .
Path to Prosperity

The Path to Prosperity – Paul Ryan’s FY 2015 Budget Resolution is up, and while the details of the legislation are not yet available, the Path to Prosperity in this plan doesn’t seem to put much stock in global health responses. Search for  “health” and you will find references to “a health economy,” even “healthy forests,” and numerous calls to repeal Obamacare, but no particular mention of the global disease responses the United States leads worldwide. The plan notes that the “The first job of the federal government is to protect the country from threats at home and abroad,” but suggests cuts in contributions to mulilateral programs, which could include the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, along with steep cuts in non-defense discretionary spending.

The Hidden Hepatitis C EpidemicThe Negative Impact of the War on Drugs on Public Health: The Hidden Hepatitis C Epidemic – This third report from the Global Commission on Drug Policy came out in May 2013, after previous reports highlighted how drug-fighting policies over the last 40 years have fueled the global HIV pandemic while failing to cut drug trafficking or use. We wrote about the previous report here, but missed the opportunity to share this one when it was released. A discussion Monday, however, highlighted the difference prioritizing public health outcomes can make to drug policies — clarifying goals, enhancing social benefits and producing collaborative, effective efforts. Spread by blood to blood contact, described by the World Health Organization as “a viral time bomb,” Hepatitis C  is both preventable and curable, but has been fueled by policies that force people who inject drugs into hiding, and by their mass incarcerations. The report highlights the role community based efforts must play in educating policy makers, and a “best practice” plan in Scotland.

Uganda Kids Ask: Why do Christians Cheer Over Jail for Gays? – The 76 Crimes blog, which brings news from nations around the world where same sex relationships are criminalized, has been the go-to source for explorations into the impacts and responses of Uganda’s new Anti-Homosexuality Law. This post, from anthropologist, researcher and mother Stella Nyanzi, describing her attempt to explain “today’s Uganda to six-year-old Ugandans” gives a wrenching glimpse of the law’s impact on its youngest witnesses.

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