Monday, September 20, 2010

Affordable Medicines for Malaria

Indur Goklany, representing, who knows what, perhaps the Cato Institute, perhaps AEI, let loose on Bill Gates for thinking climate change would be a problem. Indur, waiving a broad brush let no half truth languish, but, dear bunnies what brings us here is what the subsequent discussion let loose. As Ed Darrell put it, Anthony Watts Targets Millard Fillmore's Bathtub and Ends Up Getting Scrubbed

Watts gave his pedestal over to an engineer, Indur Goklany, for a diatribe against Bill Gates. . .

In comments, however, truth breaks out. Franklin’s adage about truth winning in a fair fight holds true, especially on a topic like malaria and DDT, where Watts and Goklany together, even were they the acme of broadcast meteorology and dissident engineering, can’t snuff out factual comments fast enough to keep up the tirade. [You fellows there on the side: Stop your betting about whether Goklany is a creationist! Gambling is not allowed here, especially when the fix is in. He confesses he is "an engineer," after all.]
Tim Lambert did his bit too. . . and Eli joined in on the comments at WUWT and Tim and Ed contributed, but, among other things, since this started with an attack on Bill Gates, it is important to understand at least some of the interesting things that the Gates Foundation is doing to help fight malaria.

Among these, Affordable Medicines for Malaria (AMFM), is one of the cleverest, and may even work. The idea is that AMFM will buy ACT (artemisinin combination therapy - something else the Wattoids didn't know about) drugs directly from the manufacturers in huge amounts at deep discount, and pass the drugs on to the distributors, public health agencies, private wholesale pharmacies, and NGOs at so far below cost that even counterfeit drugs cost more. The private wholesalers can take their profit.
This means that buyers will only pay approximately US$0.05 for each course of ACTs. For patients who currently pay for treatment, this is expected to result in a significant reduction in the price of ACTs from about US$6-10 per treatment to about US$0.20-0.50.
It's not quite that simple. Countries wishing to participate have to meet a number of conditions, but the ju-jitsu is splendid.
The AMFm was inspired by a landmark report, “Saving Lives, Buying Time”, published in 2004 by a Committee of the Institutes of Medicine (IOM) of the National Academy of Sciences, USA. Professor Kenneth Arrow, Nobel Laureate in economics, chaired the Committee. Under the umbrella of the Roll Back Malaria Partnership, and with financing from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, the World Bank convened and managed an initiative that developed the principles of the IOM report into a policy that was adopted by major institutions in malaria control, and endorsed in November 2008 by the Board of the Global Fund. Many institutions, working groups and individuals contributed to the development of the Affordable Medicines Facility – malaria, including the RBM Task Force for the AMFm, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of The Netherlands, UK-DFID, UNICEF, WHO, Ministers of Health and analysts from malaria-endemic countries, Resources For the Future, the William J. Clinton Foundation, scientists at think tanks, civil society groups, the private sector, academia, and others.
No good deed goes uncarped about


Anonymous said...

As an honest broker; how do you expect to now 'save time buying up other peoples lives' like Bee-Gee does?... After the people have been kicked off the land, he will drill wells, sell the water and then build a wind turbin farm so that the people can have an electric fan? We all know he has bunches of money to buy up the world from poor people living in India, China, Africa, Europe, Us... We all know he is not in it just for the money by now; don't we? It is all about Big Hearts, right? Just like yours Eli... Wait for it...

"Among the things that happened was artemisinin combination therapies (ACT). This prevents the spread of maleria by wiping it out efficiently in one of the hosts (us).

Goklany is scum

Posted by: Eli Rabett | September 16, 2010 1:05 AM

Just how well do you know Mr. Goklany? Anyway, you & the other Uber-men&women of science have now shown us the way. "Save the Hosts", say the poor of this world.

I read all about this stuff in the Bible; & for a fun read try:
II Timothy 3:16. Everything we are all talking about---it's all in this good-book, take your time, read & understand, it will do all of us, a world of good. You will see:)

EliRabett said...

While Eli would not discourage you from reading the bible ol' fren' he would say that it would pay increase your intellectual range. For example, if you follow one of the links you would see that the Gates foundation is sponsoring research into decreasing the cost of malaria medicines, research on a vaccine (Eli is not very hopeful), etc. However, as they say, you do now what you can do now. Thank you for being the first carp landed by this post.

BTW, frens' don't let frens' drink and comment.

Anonymous said...

"frens' don't let frens' drink and comment."

Why not? The Cabernet Sauvignon carrot juice is delicious.

Little Mouse

Anonymous said...

Hi Eli, I was up north for the summer... did a little fishin, it was a good season too, nothing to carp about. How about you? Still up to your ol tricks?

Still Flappin?:o)

J Bowers said...

Bug Girl has a good post on myths surrounding DDT and attacks on Rachel Carson, for those who haven't seen it.

Watts banning Ed was laughable. Any excuse.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous said...


"Greens are a puny force by comparison to industrial lobby groups, the cowardice of governments and the natural human tendency to deny what we don't want to see. To compensate for our weakness, we indulged a fantasy of benign paternalistic power – acting, though the political mechanisms were inscrutable, in the wider interests of humankind. We allowed ourselves to believe that, with a little prompting and protest, somewhere, in a distant institutional sphere, compromised but decent people would take care of us. They won't. They weren't ever going to do so. So what do we do now?

I don't know. These failures have exposed not only familiar political problems, but deep-rooted human weakness. All I know is that we must stop dreaming about an institutional response that will never materialise and start facing a political reality we've sought to avoid. The conversation starts here."

Eh,... now what's up doc?

Ed Darrell said...

For the record, in the past three weeks I've had to replace my desktop, and in repairs, my laptop's hard drive was wiped clean. Consequently I've had to set up two Windows computers from scratch.

Do you know how long it takes to make 107 updates to Windows, just to get the thing up and running?

And after that, I still think Gates's foundation does great work in fighting malaria. There will be mistakes along the way I'm sure, but neither Gates nor anyone else at the foundation is wedded to the mistake -- unlike those who ask for more DDT.

Thanks to the bunny for keeping up the fight in the trenches at WUWT. Trenches are unpleasant places to fight at any time, but they're worse than usual at WUWT where ill-aimed urination too often passes for argument. It takes a strong bunny to do that work.

Russell said...

It's just Watts way of celebrating national Talk Like a Climate Pirate day,

Anonymous said...

OK Ed; you are with doc, right? You too feel that Mr. Goklany, is "scoum"?... It is the e-lite tude that bugs me. You are good with this,... I am a bit surprised.

Birds of a feather
Now you too, flap on...

PS/It is not about the science-it is about choice.

Anonymous said...

Please feel free to correct my spelling.

Thank you, MGT

Martin Vermeer said...

Ed, give Linux a try. Windows was never meant for somewhat smart people.

E.g., this. You'll like it.

Rattus Norvegicus said...

Well, since the stupidity at Watt's blog is up for discussion here...

The latest kerfuffle over there is over the proposed updating by NOAA/NCDC of the USHCN. The project is called USHCN-M. It appears to be an extension of the USCRN to provide fine grained data and is being built to the same standards as the USCRN. Good, I think this would be a step forward in climate monitoring and meets Watt's wet dream for metadata and site location standards.

Unfortunately, this all costs money. So what is Watt's reaction to this? Why ridicule of course. How could this possibly cost $100,000,000 over ten years! Fraud! Waste! The funny thing is that Mosher and I agree on this -- that the cost is reasonable given the requirements of the network.

Of course Watt's has been agitating for something like this for a few years now, but he can't see the irony in his position. Now that someone has proposed (and is indeed even implementing as a pilot project) exactly what he would want, he doesn't want to pay for it. All I can say is "good job, asshole."

Ed Darrell said...

Martin, you're right -- and thanks for the link.

Now, if I can just convince the other 50,000 users in Dallas Independent School District . . . well, okay, 49,338, because almost 700 are already using Linux in some form or another.

Rattus Norvegicus, irony is lost on the unthinking, nonthinking, and won't-thinks. The U.S. Constitution was written because the Articles of Confederation allowed no taxes; the U.S. Constitution was written to provide clear and firm, enforceable taxing authority to make a strong government that would pay the bills. Tea Partiers get their bags all wet thinking about no taxes and weak federal government, but claim to be supporters of the Constitution.

It's enough to make Ronald Reagan roll over into George Washington's tomb.

Rattus Norvegicus said...


I feel your pain when looking at the teabaggers. They fail to realize that the people who wanted the convention were interested in a strong federal government.

The wishful thinking that cutting spending and cutting taxes will get rid of the deficit seems rather odd. They completely fail to realize that during the Clinton years taxes on the rich were raised at the tail end of a recession, complete with forecasts of the apocalypse from the likes of Bob Dole, and yet it resulted in the most vibrant economic conditions in my memory. Combined with the rather modest spending cuts forced by the Rethuglicans resulted in a, I forgot what they called it, was that a surplus?

Of course they are also willing to say that the Constitution is frozen in stone and ignore 200 years of Supreme Court interpretation. The fact is that constitutional law just isn't as simple as reading the text. The same problem that Scalia, Alito, Thomas, et. al. have. Simplicity and black and white is not a feature of this area of law. And yes, I am not a lawyer, just a layman who is interested in the history of our form of government which is far more complex and interesting than the teabaggers think it is.

BTW, there have now been a couple of comments on the infamous McShayne and Wyner paper accepted by the Annals of Applied Statistics. One by Schmidt, Mann and Rutherford and the other by Martin Tingley (who is a statistician working on the IMAGE project at NCAR). Both are quite devastating to MW. But the fun, as always, can be found amongst the clowns at WUWT, in which Watts gets the main point of the comment completely wrong. Have fun!

Anonymous said...

Rattus, Eduardo at Klimazwiebel is also promoting Martin Tingley's view. It really must be hard for the WUWT'ers to have discovered a new ally (Eduardo) a few months ago, and then have him disagree with their other newfound heroes.

Meanwhile, climateaudit is 'surprisingly' silent on the topic...


Anonymous said...

Apparently, they found a new hockeystick at Watts: .

RR Kampen, NL.

Horatio Algeranon said...

"my dream is to create zero-carbon technologies that will be cheaper than coal or oil. That way, even climate skeptics will want to adopt them, -- Bill Gates

Gates is new to this game, isn't he?

Horatio Algeranon said...


Speakin of strong bunnies.

This onecould undoubtedly kick you across the room with one foot tied behind it's head (and prolly would, on a bad hare day)

David B. Benson said...

What Martin Vermeer wrote.

Rattus Norvegicus said...

Eh, it seems that McI has a post up. Let's just say that it not very convincing and he fails to address the methodological problems in the MW paper. Basically he says that he agrees with MW w/o providing a solid basis by addressing the two critiques which I am aware of.


Anonymous said...

How sad. A young man who wanted for nothing; which was what he had been all the best schools. The only thing of value to him; seems to have been the wasted act of his end. Now he "knows"; his soul lives on.

All that he was and thought he knew; all thrown away for a copper. He was a very brite young man; who stood up once, for something?...
On a particular day. Why?... What do you think is the hole in this life? You may say that he was troubled? He says, "I" know everything and by the bibliography he included he was way over-red. He should have called on the Messiah. He would have been loved & taught by the Holy Spirit. Free for nothing.) This is where all you new, pro-fessors, plan to take the unwashed of this world. You say "Down with Hope" & forward with the New-Five-Year-Plan.
How sad. How shallow most of you seem to be. But by no means, scum.

ABPS said...

We all know the philanthropic activities, Gates is involved in. Malaria affects more people all around the world.Giving affordable medicines to the people who needs it, will help in eliminating Malaria.

Steven Sullivan said...

The debate at Watts' pesthole about malaria and DDT is too simplistic. There's too much shallow mining of too few papers (the ones with open access) going on there.

One problem with all of these chemical/drug control modes for malaria, including DDT spraying, is that the more you use it the more pressure is on the bugs (mosquito vectors or Plasmodium itself) to evolve resistance. That's been the bane of 20th-21st century malaria intervention. It's happening with DDT and with artemisinin today: we're seeing resistant strains in the field. So you can't rely on any 'monotherapy', no single magic chemical bullet, and a wholesale return to DDT at the expense of other modes would not necessarily be the savior some crazy filmaker claims it is. It could well be one weapon in a shifting arsenal though. But at the same time, re-embracing DDT would amount to the West performing a toxicology experiment on the Third World...quite rightly making it a rather sensitive issue.