- About HHR
In a recent blog post, our colleagues at The O’Neill Institute for National and Global Health Law at Georgetown University report on a “new frontier” for the access to medicines movement, which follows the expanding prevalence of NCDs in middle- to low- income countries. They contend that effective treatment must prioritize “patients over patents”:
Ensuring access to medicines requires a two-pronged approach. First, medicines must be invented and developed. For conditions that widely affect both the rich and poor, this presents little problem. Because those in the developed world can afford to pay large sums for these medicines, pharmaceutical companies have a strong financial incentive to develop treatments. However, where diseases affect primarily those living in poverty (e.g., schistosomiasis), or where these populations need different formulations from those used in developed countries (e.g., heat-stable versions of pediatric drugs), companies have little incentive to develop medicines—it makes little economic sense to create a product for a population that has no money to pay for it. Second, those drugs that are developed must be available at an affordable cost, with sufficient safeguards for quality, and against the backdrop of adequate distribution networks.
The campaign for access to medicines grew up alongside HIV/AIDS. When the first antiretroviral treatment, AZT, came to market in 1989, it cost a staggering $8,000 per year, putting the patented drug out of reach for many Americans and Europeans, along with virtually all of the rest of the world. The World Trade Organization Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS), which required all member countries to guarantee patent protection for medicines, further galvanized activists. The movement has been largely successful in reducing the cost of HIV/AIDS medicines, largely by promoting generic competition. AZT’s price, for instance, has plummeted to just $70 per year.
Read the rest of the blog post here.
Source: D. Hougendobler, “A new frontier: The access to medicines movement and NCDs,” The O’Neill Institute for National and Global Health Law Blog (August 8, 2013). Available at http://www.oneillinstituteblog.org/a-new-frontier-the-access-to-medicines-movement-and-ncds/.
Papers In Press
Europe’s Shifting Response to HIV/AIDS: From Human Rights to Risk Management
HIV, Hepatitis C, TB, Harm Reduction, and Persons Deprived of Liberty: What Standards Does International Human Rights Law Establish?
Gen Sander and Rick Lines
International Human Rights and the Mistreatment of Women during Childbirth
Rajat Khosla, Christina Zampas, Joshua P. Vogel, Meghan A. Bohren, Mindy Roseman, and Joanna N. Erdman
HIV and the Right to Health in Colombia
Corey Prachniak-Rincón and Jimena Villar de Onís
Transforming Policy into Justice: The Role of Health Advocates in Mozambique
Ellie Feinglass, Nadja Gomes, and Vivek Maru
Reproductive Health Policy in Tunisia: Women's Right to Reproductive Health and Gender Empowerment
Nada Amroussia, Alison Hernandez, and Isabel Goicolea
Letter to the Editor: Moving the Debate Forward in Right to Health Litigation
Octavio Luiz Motta Ferraz
Letter to the Editor Response: On the Heterogeneity and Politics of the Judicialization of Health in Brazil
João Biehl, Mariana P. Socal, Joseph J. Amon
Terminal Patients and the Right to Refuse Medical Treatment in Argentina
Martín Hevia and Daniela Schnidrig
Book review: Advancing Global Health and Human Rights in this Neoliberal Era
Harvard FXB Health and Human Rights Consortium Student Essay Competition:
Human Rights, Law and Abortion in El Salvador
Lessons from Jonathan Mann: The Ten Commandments on Multidrug-Resistant TB
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