Global Pharmaceutical Markets

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

30 Pages Posted: 6 Mar 2010  

Kevin Outterson

Boston University School of Law

Donald W. Light

Rowan University School of Osteopathic Medicine ; Center for Migration and Development; Institute for Advanced Study

Date Written: January 15, 2010

Abstract

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.

Keywords: Patent, Intellectual Property, Duty of Rescue, Pharmaceutical, Drug, Access to Medicine

JEL Classification: K00, K11, K33, K39

Suggested Citation

Outterson, Kevin and Light, Donald W., Global Pharmaceutical Markets (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. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1565536

Kevin Outterson (Contact Author)

Boston University School of Law ( email )

765 Commonwealth Avenue
Boston, MA 02215
United States

Donald W. Light

Rowan University School of Osteopathic Medicine ( email )

Cherry Hill, NJ 08003
United States
6092160071 (Phone)

Center for Migration and Development ( email )

200 Wallace Hall
Princeton, NJ 08544
United States
6092160071 (Phone)

Institute for Advanced Study ( email )

1 Einstein Drive
Princeton, NJ 08540
United States
(609) 734-8000 (Phone)

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