Research Handbooks on the WTO series
Edited by Geert Van Calster and Denise Prévost
Chapter 8: TRIPs and access to essential medicines
The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that approximately one-third of the world’s population lacks access to essential medicines and adequate medical treatment, with Africa and India making up 53 per cent of those without sufficient access to essential medicines. It is also clear that millions of deaths occur each year from preventable and easily treatable diseases and that these deaths are caused in large part due to the difficulties some countries have in providing their citizens with access to essential medicines. Thus, despite the right to health being enshrined in the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ICESCR), a significant portion of the world cannot enjoy this right. Finding a cause for the lack of access to essential medicines and remedying the situation has proven to be more controversial and illusory.
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