Implementing Public Health Regulations in Developing Countries: Lessons from the OECD Countries
Lawrence O. Gostin
Georgetown University - Law Center - O'Neill Institute for National and Global Health Law
Emily A. Mok
Georgetown University Law Center
Monica Das Gupta
World Bank - Development Research Group (DECRG)
Georgetown University - The O'Neill Institute for National and Global Health Law
Journal of Law, Medicine and Ethics, Vol. 38, No. 3, pp. 508-519, Fall 2010
Georgetown Public Law Research Paper No. 10-68
Population and Economic Development Working Paper No. 10-02
The enforcement of public health standards is a common problem in many developing countries. Public health agencies lack sufficient resources and, too often, enforcement mechanisms rely on slow and erratic judicial systems. These limitations can make traditional public health regulations difficult to implement. In this article, we examine innovative approaches to the implementation of public health regulations that have emerged in recent years within OECD countries. These approaches aim to improve compliance with health standards, while reducing dependence on both the legal system and the administrative resources of public health agencies.
This article begins by discussing some traditional forms of public health regulations; these regulations include administrative searches and inspections as well as licensing measures. Within these traditional forms of public health regulation, there are several ways of improving compliance without substantially increasing administrative costs. These measures include public disclosure and several types of sanctions, which may escalate in severity as an actor continues to flout the public health regulation.
In addition to such traditional measures, we discuss more creative approaches to reducing dependence on the judiciary and reducing administrative costs. Dependence on the judiciary can be reduced through increased reliance on alternative dispute resolution methods, such as mediation and arbitrations, as well as through the use of a public health Ombudsman.
Administrative costs could also potentially be reduced through the creative use of public-private cooperation measures, such as negotiated rulemaking and self-regulating codes of conduct. Developing countries may find some useful lessons in the innovative approaches described; however, these approaches will likely need to be adapted to fit each country’s particular institutional setting.
Number of Pages in PDF File: 14
Keywords: Global Health, Administrative Law, Public Health Laws, Health Law and Policy
JEL Classification: K00, K32, I00, I18, I30Accepted Paper Series
Date posted: November 6, 2010
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