Section 27 supports the Johannesburg Declaration on right to health

Publish Date: 
Tuesday, April 5, 2016

ESCR-Net member Section 27, along with other civil society organizations around the world, has endorsed the Johannesburg Declaration to encourage the High-Level Panel to make reform and to revolutionize the global and national systems for supporting research and development of needed health technologies. This will subsequently guarantee equitable and affordable access to safe, efficacious and well-adapted technologies for all persons, in all countries, for all health conditions. 

Section 27 stresses that the UN system – and governments and people around the world – are poised on the threshold of a historic opportunity to redress the policy incoherence and imbalance that exists with respect to health technologies between the justifiable interests of inventors and trade rules on the one hand and international human rights law and public health on the other.

Twenty years ago, the WTO TRIPS (World Trade Agreement on Intellectual Property Rights) Agreement created global standards for intellectual property that have been used to exclude competitors from offering more affordable health products. Since then industry and certain countries defending their interests have relentlessly pursued ever-higher standards of patent, data/regulatory, trade secret, and other intellectual property protections through free trade agreements, investment treaties, diplomatic pressure, misleading technical assistance, litigation and retaliatory measures. 

This system of financing biomedical research and development that relies upon the grant of monopolies – and the search for profits through high prices – produces innovation gaps, inefficiencies, and distortions in the development of new health technologies, as well as avoidable death and suffering due to high prices and lack of access to health technologies.

The UN Secretary-General’s High-Level Panel on Access to Medicines has been established to consider bold, evidence-based alternatives to the distortions and excesses of the current system – new mechanisms both for sustainably incentivizing research and development that focuses on the health needs of all people and for ensuring affordable access to the benefits of medical advances.

Civil societies urge the High Level Panel to recognize key principles and to adopt the various recommendations.  To read those recommendations, please click here.

Photo Credit: Section 27

Thematic focus: 
Related Members: