The International Obligation to Secure the Right to Health
States have an international obligation to cooperate for the purpose of realizing the right to health. This chapter examines the nature of this obligation and concludes that it consists of three discrete obligations — an obligation to take reasonable measures subject to available resources to respect, protect, and fulfil the right to health of individuals in other states. The effect of these obligations is demonstrated via a case study, namely the impact of the TRIPS regime on access to medicines. It is suggested that, on balance, a state's involvement in TRIPS does not necessarily violate the respect and protect elements of its international obligation to secure the right to health. But this regime is not an effective mechanism by which to facilitate access to medicines in developing states, and the international obligation to fulfil the right to health requires that states must make bona fide efforts to develop a complementary system which is more likely to achieve this end.
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