Health Sector

Explore the challenges and strategies to deal with health sector corruption

Corruption in the health sector is especially critical in developing and transitional economies lacking in public resources. Corruption lowers the quality, equity, volume and effectiveness of health care. It increases the price of medical services, and discourages people to use and pay for them. This has a corrosive impact on a population's level of health.

This U4 Theme offers resources to:

Prof. Taryn Vian , Amy Studenic, and Kimberly Johnson at the Boston University School of Public Health have contributed substantively to this U4 Theme.

clyclopsr copy

Chinese drug salesmen tell BBC they 'routinely pay bribes'. British Broad Casting, 12 August 2013

GlaxoSmithKline executive confessed to paying bribes for doctors to prescribe their medicine and for hospitals to carry it. The bribes get absorbed into the cost of the companies and raises prices of the drugs. BBC interviewed five drug salesman who confirmed this practice. There is also corruption going on around the health sector, such as people selling appointments to see physicians.
  • video_thumb_38
  • video_thumb_29
  • video_thumb_37
  • video_thumb_36
Author: J. C. Kohler, A. Makady
Release date: December 2013

Harnessing Global Health Diplomacy to Curb Corruption in Health

More than a third of the world’s population lack access to essential medicines, despite the presence of several international agreements that proclaim health as a human right. The reasons for poor drug access are many and include a lack of uniform good governance in the health care system which may allow for corruption.  Good governance through economic, political and administrative authority is critical for mitigating the effects of corruption. Although many studies have assessed corruption in health, there is a dearth in literature on the scale and extent of global health corruption. Moreover, public officials are often reluctant to discuss problems related to corruption for fear of being held accountable for such problems. This article argues, therefore, that instruments and processes of global health diplomacy must be used to help prioritize empirical research into global health corruption, and broker honest dialogue by state actors with regard to corruption, and ideally mediate negotiations amongst multiple stakeholders for the establishment of a collective framework for the implementation of good governance in health.

Author: P. Agbenorku
Release date: December 2013

Corruption in Ghanaian healthcare system: the consequences

This article gives an overview of what corruption is, how it occurs, what it looks like in Africa, corruption within the Ghanaian health care sector, and the effects of corruption. The article then delves into a survey given to 1620 participants from the capital region of Ghana. They were asked various questions on their perception of corruption. One question resulted in 25.9% of people saying Ghana was extremely corrupt with 74.1% saying it was quietly corrupt.


On this page

Featured themes