Trade, foreign policy, diplomacy and health

9. Global Public Goods for Health: Use and Limitations

Richard D Smith, David Woodward

The ‘production’ of a GPGH

Several themes of importance emerge if production is to be secured:

  • The need for a GPGH ‘champion’
  • The importance of knowledge
  • The importance of international legislation
  • The need for ‘access goods’

The production of a GPGH will require a wide range of inputs. Some may themselves be global (or regional) public goods, others national public goods, club goods or private goods. Some will be specific to a particular disease, while others will confer broader benefits to other (health or non-health) national and international public goods. Some may be essential to produce the GPG, whilst others may only make its attainment more likely, easier, cheaper or faster, affecting its economic viability or political feasibility. But all together will determine whether or not the GPG will be produced. Of particular importance is the degree to which these goods may be considered as 'intermediate' GPG or 'access' goods. There is also, in addition to actual inputs to the production process, the political process of ensuring that production is undertaken.