Biology Reference
In-Depth Information
Chapter 9
Beyond Benefit Sharing: Steps Towards
Realizing the Human Right to Health
Aidan Hollis, Thomas Pogge and Doris Schroeder
Abstract Benefit sharing provides an answer to a very specific problem; namely
the exploitative use of Southern resources in Northern research and development. Its
emergence in the context of the export of plants, animals and micro-organisms for
commercial use in more affluent countries emphasises concerns regarding justice in
exchange; those who contribute a resource, often in the context of medical research,
need to receive something in return. This is a narrow view of justice, which does not
address wider issues. All human beings have a right to the enjoyment of the highest
attainable standard of physical and mental health; in short, a right to health. This uni-
versal right is not promoted through the targeted returns of benefit sharing. The lives
that may be saved because research participants obtain access to health care through
benefit sharing does not even begin to tackle broader injustice issues, as for exam-
ple, those related to the international intellectual property rights (IPR) system. This
chapter introduces a reform plan to modernise and humanize the IPR system: the
Health Impact Fund. Whilst a single reform plan cannot deliver on the ambitious goal
of providing health care to all globally, it is important to remember that the demand
for benefit sharing emerged in the context of extreme global disparities in wealth. In
an ideal scenario, where the human right to health was fully realised, benefit sharing
might even be safely replaced with the altruism model of research participation.
Keywords  Human right to health • Beneit sharing • Health Impact Fund • 
Intellectual property rights • Access to medicines
A. Hollis ( * )
Department of Economics, University of Calgary, 2500 University Dr NW, Calgary, AB,
T. Pogge
Yale Philosophy Department, P.O. Box 208306, New Haven, CT 06520-8306, USA
D. Schroeder
UCLAN, Centre for Professional Ethics, Brook 317, Preston PR1 2HE, UK
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