HEALTH IS A HUMAN RIGHT
“The enjoyment of the highest attainable standard of health is one of the fundamental rights of every human being without distinction of race, political belief, economic or social condition.”
(World Health Organization Constitution, 1946)
1/3 of the global population (2 BILLION PEOPLE) lack access to essential medicines!
As a result: Each year 1 million people die of Malaria. Each day 8,000 people die of AIDS. Each minute 4 people die of TB. Meanwhile, cardiovascular disease, cancer, and asthma are on the rise: diabetes has reached epidemic proportions in South Africa and many other parts of the developing world. In Africa, only 1% of people with HIV get ARVs (antiretroviral drugs).
Why are people who need medicines not getting them?
Because many people in the developing world cannot afford patented medicines. Brand name pharmaceutical manufacturers hold patents on many of these critically needed drugs. Patents prevent other companies from making and selling these lifesaving medications. Patent-holding companies can charge any price they want for their medicines because they’re the only ones allowed to sell them. They set the prices of their drugs far higher than any of the impoverished sick in the developing world can afford. These companies are literally denying medicines to the people that need them most just so that they can make a greater profit. Generic pharmaceutical producers have the capacity to make these drugs for a fraction of the cost dictated by patent-holders but are prevented from doing so by the patent protection.