Phil had an important role creating health economics in Brazil

Andre Medici, Bethesda, Maryland

Phil had an important role creating the health economics field in Latin America, particularly in Brazil. In the end of the 1980’s, many Latin American countries started to create health economics associations that focused empirical evidence and data. The emphasis at this time was health financing, giving that Ministers of Health were pushing for more resources.

Most of people that were working in health economics were attached to schools of public health (not economic departments of the universities) and public institutions. There was poor information and little opportunity to discuss other questions in health such as efficiency and equity in Brazil. I was part of the group that created the Brazilian Association of Health Economics in the early 1990’s and I knew Phil some time before – in the late 1980’s – when he was a solo health economist working at PAHO.

Phil convinced us to move ahead on topics different than health financing. Based on his arguments, we organized training, seminars, talks with government authorities and other activities, creating the first generation of Brazilian health economists in the second half of the 1990’s. Phil collaborated on health economics training and wrote papers about health economics in general and a number that applied to Brazil.  He worked on projects, academic activities and policy analyses for government institutions.  Phil also contributed to nutrition economics, health financing, efficiency, equity and health macroeconomics. His Brazilian colleagues find some of the insights in his writings that are decades old still relevant today.