UN INDEPENDENT EXPERT LAUNCHES DRAFT HUMAN RIGHTS GUIDELINES FORPHARMACEUTICAL COMPANIES
The UN Special Rapporteur on the right of everyone to the enjoymentof the highest attainable standard of physical and mental health,Paul Hunt, today launched for public consultation a draft HumanRights Guidelines for Pharmaceutical Companies in relation to Accessto Medicines."Almost 2 billion people lack access to essential medicines," theSpecial Rapporteur said. "Improving access to existing medicinescould save 10 million lives each year. Access to medicines ischaracterised by profound global inequity as 15% of the world'spopulation consumes over 90% of the world's pharmaceuticals", theSpecial Rapporteur explained.Access to medicines is a central feature of the right to the highestattainable standard of health. States have primary responsibility forenhancing access to medicines, as set out in the expert's report tothe UN General Assembly last year (13 September 2006, A/61/338). TheSpecial Rapporteur routinely questions Governments about theirnational medicines policies and implementation plans."Pharmaceutical companies have a profound impact - both positive andnegative - on Governments' ability to realise the right to thehighest attainable standard of health. It is time to identify whatpharmaceutical companies should do to help realize the human right tomedicine. How can we expect pharmaceutical companies to respect humanrights if we fail to explain what they are expected to do?" he added.Consisting of some 50 provisions, the draft Guidelines were launchedtoday at the University of Toronto, Canada. They are available for
comment until 31 December 2007."The draft Guidelines are designed to help pharmaceutical companies,as well as those monitoring their activities. I look forward tofinalising the Guidelines in 2008", Professor Hunt concluded.
The Special Rapporteur is an independent expert appointed by the thenUnited Nations Commission on Human Rights to help States, and others,promote and protect the right to the highest attainable standard ofhealth.The draft Guidelines, and other initiatives of the SpecialRapporteur, can be found at www2.essex.ac.uk/human_rights_centre/rth/For further information on the mandate of the Special Rapporteur andcopies of his reports, please go tohttp://www.ohchr.org/english/issues/health/right/index.htm