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Five books to help us understand global health problems [reading list]

Health economics combines economic concepts with medical evidence to show how health care institutions function and how globalization affects global health problems. To raise awareness of the importance of the study of health economics, we have created a list of books along with free chapters that explore the policy concerns relevant to health systems in both developed and developing countries and how technology can help.

  1. Global Health Justice and Governance by Jennifer Prah Ruger
    The book discusses the critical problems facing the world today and offers a new theory of justice and governance as a way to resolve these issues. It presents a theoretical framework for evaluating global and domestic policies, practices, and institutions. This chapter addresses whether existing institutions, along with relevant processes and rules, are sufficient to tackle contemporary and future global health problems.
  2. Globalization, Trade, and Health Economics by Richard Smith and Johanna Hanefeld
    The rapid and widespread movement of people, livestock, and goods may contribute to the spread of diseases.  Trade also impacts the health sector itself, most clearly through direct trade in health-related goods and services. However, there is scant evidence of how trade liberalization directly and indirectly affects health outcomes. This chapter explores the impact of trade on risk factors for disease and on health systems.
  3. Health Equity in a Globalizing Era by Ronald Labonté and Arne Ruckert
    This book explores how globalization affects health within and between nations. Disease has long followed trade and migration pathways, although one of the disconcerting developments in the post-1980 globalization era has been the rise of pandemic risk due to inexpensive travel, mass migration, and the rapid movement of peoples worldwide. This chapter reviews the multiple links between globalization and infectious diseases and discusses their various interactions.
  4. Pharmaceutical Economics and Policy, by Stuart O. Schweitzer and Z. John Lu
    Pharmaceuticals play a critical role in the debate over how best to advance and improve healthcare. This book explores the conflicting priorities and aims of the biopharmaceutical industry. The drug approval process in any country involves balancing conflicting social objectives: safety and access. Faster approval leads to quicker access to potentially lifesaving medicines, yet could also lead to false positives and unsafe products on the market. One chapter analyzes the pharmaceutical regulatory approval process in the United States.
  5. Society and the Internet ,  edited by Mark Graham and William H. Dutton
    How is society being reshaped by the Internet? This book is a key text for those who are interested in interactions of the Internet and society. The Internet and digital media have enormous potential for solving problems facing healthcare systems. Digital health tools present new forms of data that may lead to major discoveries and help answer key health questions or encourage healthier behavior. One chapter traces emerging digital health uses and applications, focusing on the political economy of data.

Health is one of the most important political issues for countries all over the world. These titles highlight ongoing challenges and point to new directions for further progress. For more titles in the economics of health, browse the collection here.

Featured Image Credits:by Jukka Niittymaa from Pixabay

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