Unpacking the ‘Core Content’ of Essential Medicines under the Right to Health

Upcoming Events Login

Wednesday, January 25th, 2017

Wednesday, January 25, 201710:00AM - 12:00PM108N, North House, Munk School of Global Affairs
1 Devonshire Place
M5S 3K7
+ Register for this Event Print this Event Bookmark this Event


Access to essential medicines is part of the right to health and a cornerstone of an equitable health system. Enshrined in the ICESCR, the right to health offers a set of standards, principles and duties to guide its realisation. Global health and development initiatives increasingly embrace a right to health approach, particularly for the Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) for health.

Authoritative entities such as the WHO and the former UN Special Rapporteur on the Right to Health maintain that national governments should give legal recognition in domestic law to essential medicines as part of the right to health. Legal recognition offers a framework for national policy makers and health workers to implement these rights while providing a foothold for their enforcement. In particular, universal health coverage (UHC) enshrined in domestic law can advance health rights by making essential medicines affordable and available to all.

Currently, it is unclear to what degree domestic legal rules providing for essential medicines mirror right to health principles and how such legal approaches are framed. This research maps the domestic legal terrain governing access to essential medicines in middle income countries. Through comparative legal analysis, this multidisciplinary study determines how domestic legal texts articulate the public health dimensions of access to medicines (i.e. Who are the beneficiaries? Which medicines are provided? What are the direct costs to patients?) through a human rights lens that considers provisions for non-discrimination and vulnerable groups. This research reflects on how national policy makers have made explicit use of the norms and standards in the right to health when forming pharmaceutical benefits in national UHC schemes. It will outline potential ‘best practice’ legal approaches to express rights- sensitive provisions for universal access, offering tools for prospective domestic policy learning to advance the SDG for health.

Katrina Perehudoff M.Sc. LL.M. is a PhD candidate at the University of Groningen where she studies model domestic law for universal access to medicines through a human rights lens under the supervision of prof. Hans V. Hogerzeil (Faculty of Medical Sciences) and prof. Brigit Toebes (Faculty of Law). As a Research Fellow at the Global Health Law Groningen Research Centre, Katrina coordinates the Essential Laws for Medicines Access project and the Centre’s 2016 Summer School. Katrina has 5 years of experience advocating for access to medicines and their rational use at the NGOs Health Action International and The European Consumer Organization. She will join the CPHS as a Temporary Health & Human Rights Fellow in 2017.


Katrina Perehudoff
Visiting Health and Human Rights Fellow (University of Groningen)


Please note that events posted on this website are considered to be public events – unless otherwise stated – and you are choosing to enter a space where your image and/or voice may be captured as part of event proceedings that may be made public as part of a broadcast, webcast, or publication (online and in print). We make every effort to ensure your personal information is kept and used in compliance with the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act (FIPPA). If you have any questions please get in touch with our office at munkschool@utoronto.ca or 416-946-8900.

Newsletter Signup Sign up for the Munk School Newsletter

× Strict NO SPAM policy. We value your privacy, and will never share your contact info.