Civil Society Unites to Fight for Affordable Medicines

By Fran Quigley Frustration over Congress’s failure to reduce prescription drug prices is bringing civil society organizations together. Drug prices are continuing to increase far above rates of inflation, year after year, and more than 80% of American voters think lowering drug prices should be a priority for Congress. The civil society groups uniting to fight for their right to medicines vary in experience with some having long, international legacies of…

“Everyone Said No”: Key Populations and Biometrics in Kenya

By Sara L.M. Davis and Allan Maleche Hands off our fingerprints! That was the message from Kenyan civil society activists who blocked the use of biometric data, such as fingerprints or iris scans, in a government study of HIV. This case study of rights advocacy is the subject of a report, Everyone Said No: Biometrics, HIV and Human Rights, a Kenya Case Study, published by KELIN and the Kenya Key…

Patient Advocacy Successes in Fight for Medicines

By Fran Quigley Access to essential medicines is a well-established component of the human right to health, but it is a right that remains elusive for millions of people across the globe. The United Nations estimates that 10 million people each year die because they cannot afford medicines. Even in the United States one out of every five Americans does not fill a prescription each year because they cannot afford…

Situating Global Health Fieldwork Ethics within the Right to Health

Rachel Hall-Clifford When I began working as a medical anthropologist on childhood illness in Guatemala over a decade ago, I wanted to explore what the right to health meant for communities targeted by global health initiatives and how local people experienced those programs. I had training in anthropology and public health, including field methods and research ethics, and I felt ready to take up my small area of work in…

Subverting Rights: Addressing the Increasing Barriers to Reproductive Rights

Joseph J. Amon and Nina Sun The US State Department released its annual report on human rights on 20 April. The first report of the Trump administration garnered headlines because it stripped all references to reproductive rights, eliminating a section that had previously reviewed access to contraception and abortion, as well as maternal mortality ratios, for every country. The message is clear, but in case there was any confusion, Ambassador…

Right Time to Engage with the African Regional Human Rights System on HIV and Health

Patrick Eba Many commentators in the 1980s dismissed the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights (African Charter) as “a false dawn for the promotion and protection of human rights in Africa”.[1] This pessimism arose from the African Charter’s substantive flaws and gaps. These include: the potential for States to “misuse” the language of duties to curtail rights; the limitations of rights provided in the so-called “claw-back” clauses, and the…

Malaysia Can Teach Trump How to Lower Drug Prices

by Fifa Rahman and Fran Quigley In his 2018 State of the Union address US President Donald Trump issued yet another vow to address his country’s crisis in prescription drug pricing, where fast-climbing costs are causing one in four Americans to struggle to pay for their prescribed medicines. “One of my greatest priorities is to reduce the price of prescription drugs,” said Trump. “That is why I have directed my administration…

Advancing the Right to Health in the AIDS Response: An Evolving Movement and an Uncertain Future

Benjamin Mason Meier, Rebekah Thomas, and Kent Buse The Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS) is focusing its 2017 World AIDS Day campaign on the right to health. This groundbreaking campaign, My Health, My Right, provides an opportunity to reflect on the advancements of the right to health in the AIDS response and the challenges for human rights in the years to come. Celebrated on December 1st each year,…

Patent Fighters: Taking on Big Pharma

Fran Quigley It was at a street protest for access to medicines when Priti Krishtel and Tahir Amin realized that they needed to go beyond street protests. Krishtel and Amin were both young lawyers who had walked away from lucrative law firm jobs, Krishtel in Los Angeles and Amin in London, to travel to India, seeking to make a difference in the lives of the sick and the poor. When…

Rural-Urban Migrants in China: Mental Health Challenges and Denial of Rights

Jason Hung Devised in 1950s, hukou is a residency registration system that controls internal rural-urban migration within China. Then in 1978 the Chinese Communist Party started a series of socioeconomic reforms, including the establishment of “special economic zones” in urban and coastal regions. Urbanization in coastal regions began to contribute to vast income disparity between urban and rural areas. For example, in 1983 rural incomes were 55% of urban incomes,…