In the latest version of Podcast Once every two weeks at the public conference “Assim Fala a Ciência”, which is supported by the Francisco Manuel dos Santos Foundation and co-organized by Carlos Violhaes and I, I had the pleasure to speak with Ceo Matthews, a health economist and professor at Lancaster University, in the UK, which It specializes in the economic evaluation of health technologies and interventions, particularly in measuring the efficiency, equity and impact of these interventions on the quality of life. She obtained a degree from the Higher Institute of Economics and Management of the University of Lisbon, a master’s degree from the University of Bath in the United Kingdom, and a doctorate from the University of Nova de Lisbon (National School of Public Health).
We started by talking about priority criteria for vaccination against COVID-19. Some argue that the standard should be exclusively age-based, as it is more practical. What principles should guide the definition of priorities in such situations?
Since covid-19 vaccines are an undeniable scientific achievement, one can expect that the hardest – developing new vaccines for a new disease in less than a year – has already been done. However, the reality has shown difficulties in producing and distributing vaccines in large quantities. I wanted to know the reasons that Céu Mateus refers to the various problems that have delayed immunization. I asked him to evaluate the European Union’s strategy to jointly purchase vaccines. I asked him whether Portugal should proceed with purchasing vaccines outside this joint mechanism.
Regarding European strategy, we talked about a possible ban by the European Union on the export of vaccines outside its territory. I asked him if there was international reciprocity in exporting vaccines. We also discussed the issue of coronavirus vaccine patents: Should the public interest continue to be respected?
In addition to the different implementation of vaccine delivery contracts in different countries, with significant harm to Europe compared to the United Kingdom and the United States, there is also a significant asymmetry in the dosage demand. Some rich countries have allocated enough doses to vaccinate their populations multiple times. Others, much less well paid, rely on mechanisms of international solidarity to obtain vaccines for the Covid-19 virus. I asked if these mechanisms would be effective. And what will rich countries do with their excess vaccines?
We finished another topic. Some patients have requested that the NHS pay for some expensive medicines, under an exceptional permit. In some cases, these medications allow patients to extend their lives by a few months, and in others a little more for a few years. I asked what criteria should be used to decide on these requests.
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This program is supported by the Francisco Manuel dos Santos Foundation.