Access to Essential Medicines as a Component of of the Right to Health

  • Author: Stephen Marks (2009)


Abstract: In Human Rights Obligations of Non-State Actors, Andrew Clapham wrote, "Perhaps the most obvious threat to human rights has come from the inability of people to achieve access to expensive medicine, particularly in the context of HIV and AIDS." He was referring to threats to human rights from intellectual property agreements under the World Trade Organization, which are often seen as obeying a different - and many would say utterly incompatible -logic than human rights. The right to health, in the interpretation of the Committee on Economic Social and Cultural Rights, means that "States Parties...have a duty to prevent unreasonable high costs for access to essential medicines." (Weatherhead Center for International Affairs, Harvard University)

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