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How protecting human rights can help us increase our Global Health Impact

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As the COVID-19 pandemic surges across the world, justice and equality demand our attention. Does everyone have a human right to health and to access new essential medicines researchers develop? Can pharmaceutical companies patent the medicines and charge high prices, selling them to whoever can pay the most? How can data help us address global health problems like the coronavirus?I believe everyone should have a legally enforced human right to health that gives them a right to access essential medicines. Essential medicines are important for even a basic minimum of health and the human right to health is justified, in part, because it protects everyone’s ability to live at least minimally well. Governmental, and sometimes non-governmental, organizations should help people access essential medicines and no one should make it difficult or impossible for people to secure them.The human right to health is important for protecting everyone’s ability to live minimally well, in part, because it gives rise to what I call the virtue of creative resolve—a fundamental commitment to overcoming apparent tragedy. That is, those committed to fulfilling the right often refuse to accept that doing so is impossible, come up with creative ways of fulfilling the right, and act to fulfill it.Those who lead efforts to improve public health often exhibit the virtue. Consider how human rights advocates galvanized a global effort to extend access on essential medicines for HIV. Activists simply refused to accept pharmaceutical companies’ claim that it was impossible to lower prices and educated patients to demand access to treatment. Mass protests and generic completion brought prices down from $12,000 per patient per year to $350.Or consider how one human rights organization, Partners in Health, fought drug resistant TB when no one thought it was possible to do so. They refused to accept the “conventional wisdom” that it was impossible to help people with drug resistant TB in developing. . .

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News source: OUPblog » Philosophy

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