[Ip-health] MSF: Proposed EU financial transaction tax should help bail out global health

Joanna Keenan-Siciliano joanna.l.keenan at gmail.com
Mon Oct 24 03:07:56 PDT 2011

Medecins Sans Frontieres issues press release and report on financial
transaction tax:

Proposed EU financial transaction tax should help bail out global health

GENEVA, 20 October 2011 – The financial transaction tax (FTT) proposed by
France and Germany and due to be discussed at Sunday’s European Council
meeting and next month’s G20 Summit, could help save millions of lives if a
percentage were allocated to global health, according to an issue brief
released today by the international medical humanitarian organisation
Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF).

“We’ve seen through our work how key health interventions can change lives
as well as the trajectory of pressing health needs,” said Dr Tido von
Schoen-Angerer, Executive Director at MSF’s Access Campaign.  “It’s time
global health got its bailout.”

MSF’s issue brief, Five Lives, outlines through five personal stories the
transformative impact an FTT allocation to global health could have. The
report looks at interventions that can prevent a child from becoming
severely malnourished to begin with; protect children from deadly measles
outbreaks; prevent a baby from acquiring HIV through childbirth; get people
on life-saving tuberculosis treatment sooner; and save lives while
dramatically reducing the spread of HIV through treatment.

It is estimated the funds raised by an EU FTT could reach 55 billion euros
per year. Even a portion of that sum would be a significant boost to
tackling global health crises.

“With governments scaling back foreign aid, there is no excuse not to
allocate part of the funds raised from a financial transaction tax to health
needs in developing countries,” said Sharonann Lynch, HIV/AIDS Policy
Advisor for MSF’s Access Campaign. “A financial transaction tax would give
us the predictable and sustainable funding source that is needed now more
than ever.”

The idea of an FTT is gaining political traction at the very moment global
health is showing the strains of reduced funding.  Funding for HIV, for
example, fell for the first time in 2009, and again in 2010. The Global Fund
to Fight AIDS, TB and Malaria was forced to skip a year of grants for the
first time in its history because of a severe financial shortfall. Funds
from an FTT could help bridge the gap between what is needed and what has
actually been given - and thus help countries diagnose more patients with
TB, switch to better malaria protocols, or put more patients on HIV
treatment.  This could have a dramatic impact for HIV in particular, as
recent research shows that HIV treatment is also effective at preventing new
infections, and funds will be needed if governments are able to meet their
commitment to more than double the number of people on treatment within five

“There are funding gaps across global health that could be plugged with
money from a financial transaction tax,” said Lynch.  “It’s time to invest
in real lives – real futures.”

MSF’s report, Five Lives: How a Financial Transaction Tax Could Support
Global Health, can be accessed at

Joanna Keenan
Press Officer
Campaign for Access to Essential Medicines
Medecins Sans Frontieres


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