n South African Journal on Human Rights - The right to health in international law : its implications for the obligations of state and non-state actors in ensuring access to essential medicine

Volume 19, Issue 4
  • ISSN : 0258-7203



A range of international human rights instruments, declarations and resolutions affirm that good health is a precondition for the enjoyment of all other human rights and for participation in socio-economic and political life. However, many people across the globe (especially in Africa and Asia) lack access to essential medicine. This article argues that access to medication, treatment and care is an essential element of effective responses to pandemics and other diseases. In particular, it is argued that international law imposes a minimum core (and non-derogable) obligation on states to provide essential medicine. In recognition of the increasing role that private actors are playing in ensuring access to essential medicine, their human rights obligations relating to access to essential medicine are also explored.

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