RGHL/IHSP Annual Lecture with Thomas Pogge: Paying for Health Impact

Friday, October 11, 2013 14:30to16:00
Chancellor Day Hall Maxwell Cohen Moot Court (room 100), 3644 rue Peel, Montreal, QC, H3A 1W9, CA

The McGill Research Group on Health and Law (RGHL), in collaboration with the Institute for Health and Social Policy, are proud to host Thomas Pogge, Leitner Professor of Philosophy and International Affairs, Yale University, for the RGHL's sixth annual lecture.

The talk is free and open to the public, however space is limited. Kindly RSVP to rghl.law [at] mcgill.ca.

This activity is accredited by the Barreau du Québec for 1.5 hours of continuing legal education (activity no 10075976). Please specify if a member of the Barreau when you RSVP.


One-third of all human lives end in early death from poverty-related causes. Many of these premature deaths are avoidable through global health system reforms, including to the existing patent regime. The latter provides incentives for the development and distribution of new medicines; but it also leaves gaps, especially in poor regions. The Health Impact Fund (HIF) is a mechanism intended to fill these gaps and to improve access to new medicines worldwide.

The HIF would give pharmaceutical innovators the option to be rewarded according to the incremental health impact of their product rather than through a patent-protected mark-up. The HIF would stimulate the development of high-impact medicines (especially for currently neglected diseases), would ensure availability at low cost, and would encourage innovators to market such medicines with the aim of reducing the global disease burden.

The feasibility of this reform shows that the existing medical-patent regime is severely unjust. Professor Pogge will (a) introduce the HIF proposal and its moral justification, (b) discuss its implementation, funding, and economic viability, (c) explain its advantages for pharmaceutical firms as well as the benefits for the health and welfare of affluent and poor populations and (d) report on efforts to pilot the HIF idea in particular jurisdictions.

About the speaker

Having received his PhD in philosophy from Harvard, Thomas Pogge is Leitner Professor of Philosophy and International Affairs and Director of the Global Justice Program at Yale. He is a member of the Norwegian Academy of Science as well as President of Academics Stand Against Poverty (ASAP), an international network aiming to enhance the impact of scholars, teachers and students on global poverty, and of Incentives for Global Health, a team effort toward developing a complement to the pharmaceutical patent regime that would improve access to advanced medicines for the poor worldwide (www.healthimpactfund.org). Pogge's recent publications include Politics as Usual (Polity 2010); World Poverty and Human Rights (Polity 2008); John Rawls: His Life and Theory of Justice (Oxford 2007); and Freedom from Poverty as a Human Right (Oxford & UNESCO 2007).


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