The highest attainable standard of health is a fundamental human right, which has been part of international law since 1948. States and their institutions are the primary duty bearers responsible for ensuring that human rights are respected, protected, and fulfilled. However, more recently it has been argued that pharmaceutical companies have a coresponsibility to fulfill the human right to health. Most prominently, this coresponsibility has been expressed in the United Nations (UN) Millennium Goal 8 Target 4. “In cooperation with pharmaceutical companies, provide access to affordable essential drugs in developing countries.”
(Online publication March 25 2011)
Doris Schroeder, Ph.D., is director of the Centre for Professional Ethics at the University of Central Lancashire, Preston, UK, Professorial Fellow at the Centre for Applied Philosophy and Public Ethics at the University of Melbourne, Australia, and Adjunct Professor of Ethics at the University of Oslo, Norway.
This paper was written with support from the Commonwealth of Australia under the International Science Linkages program under grant agreement EF080010 in association with Innova-P2, funded by the European Community’s Seventh Framework Programme grant number 217665. Thanks to Julie Lucas, Armin Schmidt, and the participants of the 2010 David C. Thomasma International Bioethics Retreat for comments on an earlier draft and Cathy Lennon for research assistance.