Global Pharmaceutical Markets
Boston University School of Law
Donald W. Light
Rowan University, School of Osteopathic Medicine; Harvard University - Edmond J. Safra Center for Ethics
January 15, 2010
COMPANION TO BIOETHICS (SECOND EDITION), pp. 417-429, Helga Kuhse and Peter Singer, eds., Wiley Intescience, Blackwell Companions to Philosophy, January 2010
Boston Univ. School of Law Working Paper No. 10-05
The high price of patented drugs lies at the heart of a major global public health crisis: the global poor are often denied access to lifesaving drugs due to high cost. Do global drug companies owe ethical or legal duties to make their drug patents available for the world’s low- and medium-income populations? We suggest that they do, through an exploration of the exceptions surrounding the “duty of rescue” - more precisely, the doctrine in US tort law that does not impose a duty to rescue absent special circumstances such as having contributed to the risk and enjoying special relationships to the endangered person. We find that these special circumstances are surprisingly applicable to global pharmaceutical markets, with both legal and ethical implications for global intellectual property law.
Number of Pages in PDF File: 30
Keywords: Patent, Intellectual Property, Duty of Rescue, Pharmaceutical, Drug, Access to Medicine
JEL Classification: K00, K11, K33, K39
Date posted: March 6, 2010
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