Ned Shaw

Columnist George Will has observed that when the Titanic steamed into that iceberg, the disaster was not democratic: 56% of women sailing in third class died, while only four of 143 women in first class perished. You don't need to ask which class was traveling near or below the waterline.

When it comes to healthcare research, development and delivery--or, to be more precise, the lack thereof--those closest to the "waterline" are less-developed countries.

Health-related R&D has been designated officially as a "global public good" by the World Health Organization's (WHO) Commission on Macroeconomics and Health, reflecting the need for more and better medical research in less-developed countries. Unfortunately, such actions are largely symbolic; the real question is how do we translate lofty goals into real-world benefits. One model for the pursuit of projects particularly relevant to less-developed countries is a new global institute along the lines of "big...

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