Ethics and Economics 15 (1) (2018)

Jos Philips
Utrecht University
This article argues that universities have duties to negotiate contracts with the pharmaceutical industry that are favourable to the world’s poor, and to do more research into diseases which disproportionately strike the global poor. It is argued that these duties are related to human rights (in particular to a human right to health) and that they are therefore very weighty. Furthermore, these duties are in line with some of the most important things that Universities Allied for Essential Medicines (UAEM), a worldwide group of students and academics, wants universities to do. A number of objections are discussed, among other things to do with safeguarding pharmaceutical innovation, and it is argued that the aforementioned duties should, as UAEM also advocates, often be combined with efforts on the part of universities to work towards more long-term, large-scale institutional arrangements to ensure access to and availability of essential medicines for the global poor.
Keywords moral duties of universities  essential medicines  human rights  human right to health  ethics/moral philosophy
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