Report in the Lancet supports controversial malaria subsidies

A group of global health experts recently put their support behind a worldwide subsidy plan for malaria treatment.

The researchers, led by a group from the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, evaluated the Affordable Medicines Facility for malaria, or AMFm, and found that it reduced the price of malaria drugs overall and led to more treatment, according to the BBC.

Their report, which was recently published in the British medical journal The Lancet, found that most of the pilot programs were ultimately successful. The programs were launched in seven African countries and Cambodia by the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria.

The international charity organization Oxfam called the results of the pilot programs into question last week, saying there is no proof that the programs saved lives because officials never tracked who received the drugs.

The researchers admitted that the plans were highly controversial, but said that although the results seen in Madagascar and Niger were limited, the other programs worked.

"In all other pilots, it's likely AMFm had a dramatic effect on drugs sold through the private for-profit market," the researchers said, the BBC reports. "These changes were substantial and achieved in only a few months, which showed the power of tapping into the distributional capacity of the private sector."