The Philippines ranked 8th out of 18 low- and middle-income countries in Asia and Africa in terms of its capacity to effectively utilize private investments in public health R&D (research and development), a study by the Brookings Institution concluded.
In “Health Governance Capacity: Enhancing Private Sector Investment in Global Health,” authors Darrell West, John Villasenor, and Jake Schneider examined the quality of healthcare governance in a set of 18 low- and middle-income African and Asian countries, including the Philippines. “Good governance is a foundational condition for global health investment,” the authors explained. “It conditions the overall environment in which both public and private sector health investment takes place.”
The study added, “Given the proper environment—one in which it is clear that vaccines, drugs, and diagnostics will pass regulatory, policy, and legal muster—private sector financing can be a key source of investment in healthcare innovation.”
The study examined 25 indicators of “overall health governance capacity” in five areas relating to the management capacity, regulatory processes, health infrastructure and financing, health systems, and policy conditions in each of the 18 examined nations. Each country was scored on a scale of 1 to 20 on each of the five areas, for a total maximum possible score of 100.
The Philippines received an overall score of 69 out of 100, putting it in eighth place out of the 18 countries.
The country’s highest scores were in “Regulations” and “Health Systems,” 17 out of 20 in both cases. The Philippines received a score of 14 out of 20 on “Infrastructure and Financing,” 12 out of 20 on “Health Policies,” and its lowest score for any indicator, 9 out of 20, on “Leadership and Management Capacity.”
Among the countries assessed by the study, Vietnam, South Africa, China, and Ghana ranked the highest in the index.
“This indicates these nations have a strong ability to attract and leverage private investment in health R&D,” the study said.
The study’s authors noted that low scores in the area of “Management Capacity” were common among the countries scoring low on the overall index, along with low scores in “Health Systems.” The Philippines scored highly in the latter dimension, but only Pakistan and Nigeria, the lowest-ranked countries overall, scored lower in “Management Capacity.”
“In general, low- and middle-income countries can attract greater private investment in health R&D by increasing government transparency and stability, lowering tariffs on medical products, expediting the regulatory process for new drugs, investing in health infrastructure, and increasing government spending on health care (to the amount fiscally possible) in an efficient and targeted manner,” the authors said in their conclusion.
“By boosting private investment in global health R&D, the world can achieve even more impressive gains in personal well-being and economic growth,” they added.