Legal Obstructions to Access to Essential Medicines

Legal Obstructions to Access to Essential Medicines

Annie Liang


Canada has one of the highest life expectancies in the world, with an average life span at birth of 81.48 years relative to an aver- age life expectancy of 51.86 years for a person living in Lesotho (World Fact Book, 2012). The huge life expectancy disparities within developed and developing nations can be seen as a significant indicator of quality of life, and be correlated with access to health care and the presence of disease. Many developing countries suffer from high degrees of political instability, while countries with the lowest life expectancies, such as Angola, Lesotho, and Zimbabwe, have increased rates of HIV/ AIDS infections. The average per capita spending on pharmaceuticals in developed nations is one hundred times higher than in developing nations (Hunt, 2008, p. 10). The World Health Organization has estimated that in 1991 alone, roughly 15% of the world’s population consumed over 90% of pharmaceutical output, and that increasing access could save up to 10 million lives annually (World Health Organization, 2004). The importance of this is reaffirmed in subclause E of the 8th Millennium Development Goal, which emphasizes the United Nation’s commitment to “[cooperate] with pharmaceutical companies, [to] provide access to affordable essential drugs in developing countries” (Millenium Development Goals, 2000).

Link to full article: Legal obstructions to access to essential medicines

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