09 November 2022
Please join us for a webinar on Tuesday the 15th of November 2022 at 17:00 Athens time. The speaker is Ana Santos Rutschman, Professor of Law, Charles Widger School of Law, Villanova University. The title of the talk is “The Role of Technology-Specificity in Promoting a Human-Centered Approach to Medicines During Transnational Public Health Crises".
This webinar is free and open to all. The moderator is Dr. Andreas Panagopoulos.
Join Zoom Meeting: https://us02web.zoom.us/j/85480734261?pwd=dnRFK2k2QnNPV003dTZVMC9IZndsQT09
Meeting ID: 854 8073 4261
NOTE: To participate please contact Andreas Panagopoulos at least an hour prior to the webinar.
Abstract: Current models of production of pharmaceuticals, particularly those dependent on intellectual property (and adjacent) protections, often contribute to the highly asymmetrical and inequitable distribution of resulting outputs. These problems are especially acute when emerging pathogens cause transnational public health crises in which there is concurrent demand for the same medicines in both lower- and higher-income countries, with populations in the Global South getting very limited timely access, if any, to preventatives and life-saving medicines – even when an outbreak disproportionately affects populations in these very countries. This paper examines an under-theorized and under-explored way of correcting this historical and persisting deficit in distributive justice: it introduces and develops the concept of “technology specificity,” situating it in the context of the transfer of patented pharmaceutical products, and arguing that technology-specific approaches can be instrumental in facilitating the production and equitable distribution of critically needed medicines during pandemics and epidemics. Technology specificity requires a component-by-component evaluation of the pharmaceutical landscape performed prior to the onset of a pandemic or epidemic. In so doing, it directs policymakers to focus on ex ante models of regulating the transfer and allocation of pharmaceutical technologies—in contrast with the current practice of negotiating contractual terms when a public health crisis is already underway. This lessens many of the political economy hurdles that arise when policymakers in lower-income countries are forced to compete on unlevel playing fields with those in wealthier countries at the height of a pandemic or epidemic. In turn, this affords policymakers greater flexibility to negotiate equitable access provisions – thus ensuring that, when demand for a pharmaceutical or a particular component does arise, populations in lower-income regions are not left out.