Virtual Mentor. July 2000, Volume 2, Number 7.
Access to Essential Drugs in Poor Countries
Readers are referred to an article by B. Pécoul et al in a 1999 issue of JAMA to discuss what ethical duties developed countries have to ensure that essential drugs are accessible to patients in poor countries.
Articles and books on bioethics continue to expand in both number and the range of topics discussed. Between 1989 and 1998, more than 4000 articles alone were published in MEDLINE-cited journals. Some of the major topics examined are the patient-physician relationship, end-of-life care, reproductive medicine, genetics, and the allocation of scarce medical resources. From these publications, we will be selecting a handful of articles and chapters, some of which reflect issues of perennial concern to physicians, others reflect more recent quandries resulting from advances in biomedical technology.
A new article or book chapter will be featured every month, accompanied by questions intended to guide readers along the path of ethical reasoning and to promote discussion.Pécoul B, Chirac P, Trouiller P, Pinel J. Access to essential drugs in poor countries — a lost battle? JAMA. 1999;281:361-367.
Questions for Discussion
From a human rights perspective, the authors of this article argue for a more substantial role for the World Health Organization in ensuring access to essential drugs in developing countries.
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