chapter  28
5 Pages

Politics of access to medicines and human rights

WithAnand Grover

The provision of essential medicines to all persons in a non-discriminatory manner is a core obligation of the state, which would also include ensuring availability and access to quality affordable medicines. Access to essential medicines is an integral component of the Right to Health, which has been explicitly enunciated in a number of international instruments. The 1996 policy of the Brazilian government to provide free antiretroviral therapy (ART) to People Living with Human Immuno-Deficiency Virus was instrumental in improving health and providing access to medicines to thousands of Brazilians. At the global level, the Brazilian policy of free access to ART was regularly used as an example to demonstrate that goal of access to medicine is achievable. However, developed countries and powerful multinational corporation blocs such as ‘Big Pharma’ are increasingly focusing on furthering their narrow industry agenda of super profits, forcing developing countries to do away with their laws, which would ensure access to affordable medicines.