Date Published: September 28, 2010
Publisher: Public Library of Science
Author(s): Geralyn S. Ritter
Abstract: As one viewpoint of three in the PLoS Medicine Debate on whether drug companies are living up to their human rights responsibilities, Geralyn Ritter, Vice President of Global Health Policy and Corporate Social Responsibility at Merck & Co., argues that that multiple stakeholders could do more to help States deliver the right to health.
Partial Text: As a global health care company, Merck believes that helping to address global health challenges is a strategic and humanitarian imperative. While States bear primary responsibility for the realization of the right to health, it requires a genuine effort among many actors, including governments, multilateral organizations, nongovernmental organizations, health care professionals, and the pharmaceutical industry. This collaboration is particularly important given the many complex factors that adversely affect the right to health, such as poverty, poor infrastructure and distribution channels, corruption, lack of health care education and awareness, inadequate public health services, and lack of adequately trained health care professionals.
The pharmaceutical industry can and should leverage its expertise to help States achieve the full realization of the right to health and should work in partnership with them and other actors to help remove barriers that stand between patients and the health care they need. It is the right thing to do not only from a moral perspective, but from a long-term commercial perspective as well.
While States must continue to bear primary responsibility for the realization of the right to health, its attainment requires a multi-stakeholder approach. Everyone has a role to play and everyone can do more.