Today is Human Rights Day, a day commemorating the United Nations’ 1948 adoption of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR). Three years after World War II ended, in the wake of genocide, unprecedented military, deadly armed conflict, and mass deprivation on a global scale, the UN declared that all people in the world have rights that defend the dignity of humankind. Freedom of religion, speech, the right to assemble and own property, protection from discrimination or persecution are all central to human rights. Everyone has these rights “without distinction of any kind, such as race, colour, sex, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, property, birth or other status.”
These rights are applicable to Americans who can’t afford prescription drugs domestically because the prices are too high. Human rights include access to safe and affordable medicines, such as through importation of a more affordable drug ordered over the Internet.
(more…)Tagged with: brussels principles, human rights
A product of the RightsCon Conference, the completion of the Brussels Principles on Medication Sales over the Internet was announced last month. Those principles invoke international human rights law in defending the online sale and purchase of affordable medications that are imported by consumers. Many countries view access to healthcare and by extension to essential medications as a human right, which is reflected in recent declarations by the United Nations Human Rights Council.
I happen to be a very patriotic American, one who believes in global cooperation, human rights law and the work of the United Nations as being good for our country. I respect that many Americans are turned off by or concerned about globalization, international agreements or the UN and we can disagree on that. But you know what, we don’t need global human rights law to make our case against Big Pharma and its price gouging: we have our Founding Fathers and national notions of liberty to rely on.
In considering the spirit of the July 4th holiday, it’s worth remembering that the rights of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness in the Declaration of Independence do not guarantee us access to all we want or economic equality. I believe, however, that those rights include the freedom to purchase medication at a price we can afford and any laws that prevent us from doing so violate those rights.
Those sacred rights enshrined in the Declaration of Independence, according to the Founding Fathers, were not granted to us by government (or international organizations). They are divine rights. Think about that the next time you consider buying lower cost imported medication from Canada.
Happy Fourth of July!
Tagged with: 4 July, brussels principles, declaration of independence, founding fathers, human rights
A Letter to the ICANN Community
Today, the Wall Street Journal reported on the subject of rogue online pharmacies and the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN). The gist of the article is that ICANN is not doing enough to stop dangerous pharmacy websites. There is reason to believe that ICANN could do more but it could also do too much to the detriment of consumers who cannot afford medication locally. There’s an appropriate middle ground for getting rid of rogue pharmacy sites, but not overreaching and ending online access to safe and affordable medication. Willfully ending such access threatens the public health and treads on global norms relating to human rights and access to medications.
Earlier this month I attended an ICANN conference for the first time, which was in Los Angeles. We’ve written on several occasions about the application by the National Association of Boards of Pharmacy (NABP) to ICANN to operate a new generic top level domain (gTLD) called “.pharmacy”. To remind many of our readers, gTLDs are the endings of websites, such as .com, .org, .gov, .edu, .int, etc. The bottom line here is that we and many others believe that NABP, if its application is successful, will use its new ICANN-conferred legitimacy to stifle competition, mislead the public about online pharmacies, and in doing so curtail access by Americans and consumers worldwide to safe and affordable medication online.
I met many dedicated, interesting and well-informed people at the ICANN conference, including those serving within the ICANN community and others following it closely. To follow up with them I wrote the following letter.
Tagged with: human rights, ICANN, NABP, pharmacy, Wall Street Journal