Accessibility Tools

On the Ground

Explore our work with partners, globally and locally, to tackle social and economic injustice using a human rights lens.

New Publication: Transformative Policies to Realise Universal Access to Medicines

New Publication: Transformative Policies to Realise Universal Access to Medicines

The Global Initiative for Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (GI-ESCR) presents a new policy brief entitled: ‘Transformative Policies to Realise Universal Access to Medicines. Why we Need Knowledge Commons and Public Options for Pharmaceuticals to Realise the Rights to Health and Science.’  

The research frames universal access to medicines as a fundamental component of several human rights, including the rights to life, health, and science. However, as exemplified by stark inequalities in accessing COVID-19 vaccines, progress towards universal access to life-saving medicines is staggering.  

In this context, the policy brief argues that commercial models for researching, developing, manufacturing, and delivering medicines are limited when it comes to meet human rights goals.  

The policy brief proposes two alternatives. First, it looks at the interconnections between knowledge commons and human rights. Knowledge commons are based on the premise that scientific discovery is a social collaboration whose products belong to the community. Examples of this approach are the patent-free COVID-19 vaccine COBERVAX, or the WHO’s Global Influenza Surveillance and Response System (GISRS).  

Second, the policy brief looks at public options for pharmaceutical research and development, including positive case studies in Sweden, Cuba, and Brazil.  

The conclusions show that, while TRIPS flexibilities can be useful to address some problems, they alone cannot achieve the long-term project of realising the rights to health and science. States need to comply with their human rights obligations using their resources towards transformative and progressive policy solutions.   

Rossella De Falco, Programme Officer on the Right to Health at GI-ESCR, presented the policy brief at the conference Public Pharma for Europe on 14-15 March 2024 in Brussels. 

Related Articles


Don´t miss any updates!

Social Media: