Intended for healthcare professionals

Health, wealth, and profits

We live in critical times for global health. Big gains made during the millennium development goals era, including a halving of child mortality from 1990 to 2015, fuelled optimism about unabated—or even accelerated—progress. We hear talk of the end of AIDS, universal health coverage by 2030, and a pandemic-free world. But in the current political climate these outcomes are a distant dream. Our era is one of retrenchment and disinvestment in global health, throwing cold water on utopian rhetoric and threatening to reverse recent gains.

This BMJ series on health, wealth, and profits has three themes. The first is the link between health and wealth. The second theme is the rising cost of non-communicable diseases to societies, and the losses in both health and wealth to households, health systems, and national economies. How then can governments, citizens, and societies begin to make progress on regulating large private stakeholders in global health? International collective action, global regulatory frameworks, and other efforts to tackle key risk factors for poor health form the third theme of our series.


Editorial

The extricable links between health, wealth, and profits
A new series aims to to reignite the debate on investing in health and healthcare systems, with a focus on non-communicable diseases, say Gavin Yamey, Devi Sridhar, and Kamran Abbasi.

Editorial

The hidden power of corporations
The way in which the Coca-Cola Company came to dominate obesity policy in China provides a lesson on the hidden power of corporations, say Martin McKee, Sarah Steele, and David Stuckler.

Editorial

Trends in global health financing
Low income countries are still unable to fund a basic package of health services, says Marco Schäferhoff and colleagues.

Analysis

Valuing health as development: going beyond gross domestic product
GDP per capita is a narrow, inadequate metric for capturing the true, full value of health investments, say Victoria Fan and colleagues.

Analysis

Back to the future? Health and the World Bank’s human capital index
Felix Stein and Devi Sridhar warn of the dangers of subsuming health to economic productivity.