Access to (essential) medicines is a global and shared responsibility. This chapter starts from the basis that states have human rights obligations beyond a state’s national borders, so-called extraterritorial human rights obligations (ETOs) to respect, protect and fulfil access to medicines. International intellectual property regimes, particularly the World Trade Organisation’s Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS), may impede access to medicines and negatively impact states’ ability to comply with their human rights obligations. This chapter, therefore, attempts to demonstrate the value and importance of health-related ETOs to facilitate and contribute to achieving universal access to medicines, by providing an illustration of the nature and type of states’ ETOs to safeguard access to affordable (essential) medicines in the context of states’ TRIPS obligations. It finds that it is neither impossible nor unworkable to identify a range of different, relatively specific types of ETOs for access to medicines.
by Jennifer Sellin, in The Routledge Handbook on Extraterritorial Human Rights Obligations.