Right to Health at Regional Human Rights Hearing

Civil society groups request hearing about right to health and access to medicines at Inter-American Commission on Human Rights.

Illustration of scales of justiceFundación Grupo Efecto Positivo (FGEP), with more than 20 other civil society organizations from across Latin America requested a Thematic Hearing at the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) on the issue of lack of access to medicines. The organizations requested the Hearing in a bid to highlight the right to health.

The request was presented for a hearing of the 157th Session of the Commission. The groups aim to use a Hearing to highlight the lack of “affordable medicines in the Americas as a denial of the fundamental right to health and life”. It also aims to propose effective and feasible solutions to effectively overcome the barriers.

Lack of medicines is the most serious global public health problem today, compromising both the right to health and life. In Latin America, 230 million people (40% of the population) do not have health insurance and 125 million (21%) do not have access to basic health services. As a result, according to Pan American Health Organization, 700,000 preventable deaths occur in the region every year.

International agreements recognize that access to essential medicines is fundamental to the realization of the right to health. Governments should ensure access to medicines as part of their obligations to ensure citizens can realize their right to life. This topic concerns all countries in the region and, therefore, the Inter-American Human Rights System (ISHRS).

The Latin American Network for Access to Medicines (REDLAM) is one of the petitioner organizations, as well as its partner organizations (including FGEP) and other organizations with whom RedLAM works together to improve access to medicines in the region: GTPI/Rebrip (Brazil), International Action for Health (AIS), IFARMA (Colombia) and others. The decision on whether the application is successful will be known in March.