12 May 2017

Research into the 'lifeline' of medicines from a human rights perspective

© iStockphoto.com/Savushkin
© iStockphoto.com/Savushkin

The Ethics Institute and the Global Health Law Groningen Research Centre are conducting research into the legal and ethical aspects of global drug development from a human rights perspective. 

Lifeline of medicines

The development, registration, price and actual availability and accessibility of (new) medicines is increasingly complex and problematic. Throughout the entire ‘lifeline’ of medicines (development – registration – patient use), various multisectoral problems arise which raise multidisciplinary questions, including from a human rights perspective.

Issues raise such as: when is decision-making legitimate in the field of drug development? Is it problematic if scientific evidence underpinning regulatory decision-making includes (unknown) risks? How should one deal with both manifest and non-manifest conflicts between various sources of regulation influencing the entire pharma lifeline? But also, what is the responsibility of actors such as the Big Pharma and the Dutch Medicines Evaluation Board? And, what does it imply to regard patients as rights-holders?

The research is funded by the Dutch Medicines Evaluation Board. From Utrecht Universtiy prof Marcus Düwell and Inez Braber are involved. Marie Elske Gispen LLM is from the International Law Department of the University of Groningen.