Reach the Last Mile First: High-Level Panel on Universal Health Coverage

Meg Davis and David Ruiz Villafranca In exploring what can be learned from the experience of the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, TB and Malaria in the shift towards Universal Health Coverage (UHC), speakers on a recent high-level panel in Geneva pointed to three key lessons: the importance of embracing health as a human right; the role of the Global Fund’s investments in building stronger health and community systems and…

Stigma and Discrimination Linked to Increasing HIV in Hong Kong

Jason Hung Over the past decade, HIV rates have increased exponentially in Hong Kong. The number of individuals diagnosed has doubled every year between 2006 and 2017, although the rapid increase in HIV diagnosis may be ascribed to the increasing number of individuals seeking HIV testing in Hong Kong. Specifically, the uptake of voluntary counselling and HIV testing (VCT) services among MSM has increased from 43.4% in 2006 to 66.1%…

Drug Price Transparency: Calls Move from South Africa to WHA

Katrina Perehudoff and Jennifer Sellin Over 30 states and 40 business and civil society groups debated strategies for affordable and sustainable medicines prices at last month’s second WHO Fair Pricing Forum—co-sponsored by the government of South Africa. In our last blog post, we asked whether this Forum would achieve a shared commitment and promote (regulatory) actions that dissuade the pharmaceutical industry from seeking excessively high medicine prices. Did the second…

Donors Risk Human Rights Violations When Leaving Middle-Income Countries

Sara L.M. Davis Do health aid donors transitioning out of middle-income countries have any obligations under human rights law? In February, the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) and UNAIDS held a consultation on human rights in the HIV response. I worked with the Free Space Process and PITCH (Partnership to Inspire, Transform and Connect the HIV Response), which together represent dozens of national and regional key…

Contribute to UN Health Rights Report on Role of Medical Education in Strengthening Health Workforce

In his next thematic report to the UN General Assembly, Dainius Puras, the Special Rapporteur on the Right to Health, examines the role medical education in strengthening the health workforce. He is seeking input to the report by 20 May 2019. Acknowledging the global effort being made to address the health workforce crisis, and the considerable volume of literature on this topic, the Special Rapporteur’s report will emphasize broader, systemic,…

Contemporary Transformations Seen in the Use of Human Rights

Tine Destrooper and Sally E. Merry Human rights are increasingly described as in crisis. The rising populist tide that puts nation, religion, and race first poses new kinds of threats to human rights. But are human rights, underpinning the universal order of justice, really on the verge of disappearing? It is certainly the case that many human rights institutions have become more bureaucratic and stodgy and that human rights organizations…

WHO Fair Pricing Forum: Watching for Drug Industry Accountability

Katrina Perehudoff and Jennifer Sellin Expensive medicines are a ubiquitous challenge from which no government is immune. Excessive price hikes are an urgent human rights issue with serious ramifications for public health. One such example is that of Truvada (emtricitabine/tenofovir disoproxil fumarate), a breakthrough medicine that can be taken once a day to lower the risk of HIV infection (called pre-exposure prophylaxis or PrEP). In the United States, Truvada costs…

Christchurch: Human Rights and Compassion

Carmel Williams New Zealanders were as shocked as the rest of the world; our self image as a peaceful people living in a haven remote from the ugly realities of populist politics, white supremacy, and hate speech was shattered on Friday afternoon, 15 March. In the space of 30 minutes, one gunman killed 50 Muslims praying in two separate mosques, and seriously injured another 50. New Zealand is a known…

Beating the Pharma Shell Game: When Health Rights are at Stake

Fran Quigley A trillion-dollar industry is in trouble and it is fighting back. A Harvard-Politico poll taken after the 2018 elections showed that both Republican and Democrat voters cite prescription drug pricing as the top priority for this new Congress. A new Kaiser Family Foundation survey reveals that nearly one in three US adults don’t take their medicines as prescribed at some point each year because of the cost. The…

Ranking Political Pitches Aimed at Reducing Drug Costs

Fran Quigley The cost of medicines is a top priority for the new US Congress according to a post-election Harvard poll. Each year, one in five Americans skips doses or fails to fill prescriptions because of the inaccessibly high prices, denying people their rights to healthcare. Medicines are priced as high as $750,000 per patient, and costs for many drugs have doubled or even tripled in recent years. When public outrage builds, politicians scramble to respond.…