[Ip-health] BRICS To Fight For Medicine As 'Human Right

Gopa Kumar kumargopakm at gmail.com
Wed Jun 12 01:39:03 PDT 2013

BRICS To Fight For Medicine As 'Human Right

Taking the fight for access to affordable medicines a step further,
developing countries including India may join hands to propose a resolution
on access to medicines at the ongoing session of the United Nations Human
Rights Council (UNHRC) this week.

The move is keenly watched by members of the developed block including the
US and the EU as “access to medicines” as a human rights issue, without
limiting the list of drugs to the “essential medicines”, may hurt the
interests of the global multinational pharmaceutical corporations.

The development follows the recommendation given by Delhi-based legal
activist Anand Grover, in his capacity as the Council’s Special Rapporteur.
Grover, who took up this position in 2008, had submitted his report that
"identifies and analyses challenges and good practices with respect to
access to medicines in the context of the right-to-health framework" on May

The special rapporteurs of UNHRC are independent experts appointed by the
Council to examine and report back on a country situation or a specific
human rights theme. The position is honorary and the expert is not a staff
of the United Nations.

According to Geneva-based officials, Brazil, in its intervention on
Grover’s report, stated that developing countries including India, Brazil,
South Africa, Egypt and Thailand will take forward the recommendations of
the Special Rapporteur and introduce the draft resolution at the Council
meeting. The draft resolution may request the States, the UN and other
inter-governmental organisations to address the existing challenges with
regard to access to medicines in the context of the right to health, and
the ways to overcome those challenges.

Taking cue from Grover’s report, it is expected to use the key human rights
framework on access to medicines, i. e. availability, accessibility,
acceptability and quality to analyse the international and national
determinants to access to medicines.

In the first section of the report, the Special Rapporteur reviews the
international legal framework as it applies to access to medicines. In the
second section, he identifies key determinants of access to medicines and
discusses challenges and good practices with respect to each aspect. The
key determinants identified in the report are: local production of
medicines, price regulations, medicines lists, procurement, distribution,
rational and appropriate use and quality of medicines.

The report wants the States to ensure transparency of data related to
quality, safety and efficacy of medicines, including the mandatory
publication of adverse data; increase budgetary support for national
regulators and increase recruitment of inspectors at competitive salaries;
improve South-South cooperation to conduct joint inspections of
manufacturing facilities and share information and good practices; and
avoid conflation of poor-quality medicines, a quality control issue, with
counterfeit medicines, a trade issue.

The 23rd session of the Human Rights Council is taking place from 27 May to
14 June in Geneva and the draft resolution is expected to come up for
consideration during the week. -

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