Redirecting Money in the Right Way; increasing budget for the underserved women with money from big pharma

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Despite the overall decreasing trend of cervical cancer incidence and mortality in US, racial disparities continue to exist and have not made any significant progress.  According to the Surveillance Epidemiology and End Results data from 2003 to 2007, cervical cancer incidence for whites was 7.9 per 100,000 women, 10.1 for blacks, 12.0 for Hispanics, and 7.5 for Asians/Pacific Islanders.   Many socio-economic and cultural factors contribute to this wide disparity, one prominent factor being the income level.  One study reports that about 19 out of every 100,000 women who live in poor counties in which more than 20% of residents have an income below the federal poverty level are diagnosed with cervical cancer each year.

One of the national efforts in reducing health disparity outcomes in cervical cancer are the National Breast and Cervical Cancer Early Detection Program which provides free screening services to underserved women.  Minority women, low-income women, underinsured women and uninsured women are eligible to participate in the program to not only receive the screening tests, but also have the treatment options available to them through Medicaid Evidences for the screening tests performed in screening programs are impressive; however, only 8.7% of eligible women aged 18–64 years are screened for cervical cancer through the program due to funding deficit.

In order to increase funding for NBCCEDP, a proposed policy solution is to increase federal income tax on pharmaceutical industries.   According to a December 1999 report from the Congressional Research Service (CRS), the drug industry pays a tax rate of 16.2% whereas other industries pay an average tax rate of 23.7%, indicating a low tax burden of pharmaceutical industries relative to other industries.  The policy will propose for a 3% increase in federal income tax upon pharmaceutical companies to increase budget for NBCCEDP by 20% for the fiscal year 2012.

 

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One Response to “Redirecting Money in the Right Way; increasing budget for the underserved women with money from big pharma”

  1. mfmonn Says:

    Wow! That is absolutely shocking to me that only 8.7% of the eligible women under NBCCEDP undergo cervical cancer screening because of a lack of funding.

    I have been impressed by initiative shown by some pharmaceutical companies to increase access to the HPV vaccine in the underdeveloped regions of the world. For instance, in 2008, Merck made an agreement with GAVI in Uganda to provide at least 3 million doses of the vaccine followed future doses at no-profit prices (http://www.saveawoman.org/index.php?page=page26 referenced article is pdf on Gardasil update). While there is, and always will be, more that pharmaceutical companies should do, I think this is a fine step in the right direction.

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