Former UN Special Rapporteur Paul Hunt on International Law & Health as a Human Right & the Human Rights Responsibilities of Pharmaceutical Companies

April 19, 2010 by · Leave a Comment
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Professor Paul Hunt; Photo by Sean Sime Photography

Professor Paul Hunt. Photo by Sean Sime Photography

During his week-long visit to Seton Hall Law School, Paul Hunt, Professor of Law, University of Essex School of Law, provided several lectures to students and faculty on international human rights law and health law.  These guest lectures included “Health as a Human Right” in Professor Elizabeth Defeis’ International Law class; “On Human Rights Guidelines for Pharmaceutical Companies” in Professor Kathleen Boozang’s Pharmaceutical and Medical Device Marketing and Compliance Class; a faculty colloquium on “GlaxoSmithKline and the Human Right to Healthcare;” and participation in classroom discussion of human rights issues raised by hospitals’ repatriation of indigent aliens in Professor Lori Nessel’s Immigration & Human Rights Clinic.

In his public presentation, “The Human Rights Responsibilities of Pharmaceutical Companies,” Professor Hunt argued that pharmaceutical companies have certain social/human rights responsibilities, including the duty to take reasonable steps to enhance equitable access to medicines. You can find an audio recording of this presentation below as well as copies of Professor Hunt’s Reports to the UN General Assembly regarding “the right of everyone to the enjoyment of the highest attainable standard of physical and mental health,” and “the responsibilities of pharmaceutical companies, including innovator, generic and biotechnology companies, with regard to the right to health in relation to access to medicines.”

Professor Hunt practiced as a litigation solicitor in London before specializing in international and domestic human rights law.  He has undertaken human rights work in Europe, the Middle East, Africa and the South Pacific.  From 2002-2008, he served as a UN Special Rapporteur on the right to the highest attainable standard of health, and in 2008, was awarded Honorary Doctorate by the Nordic School of Public Health.  He is a member of the Human Rights Centre at Essex University and Adjunct Professor at Waikato University, New Zealand.

Professor Hunt’s lecture can be streamed to your browser by clicking on the link below. Clicking on this link will also provide you with a link to download the mp3. Click here to listen to Paul Hunt’s Lecture

The two UN reports mentioned by Mr. Hunt can be accessed by clicking on the thumbnails or captions below:

un_report_on_gsk un_right_to_health
UN Report on Right to Health UN Report on GlaxoSmithKline
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