Pharmaceutical Patents, the Right to Health, and Constitutional Supremacy in Sub-Saharan Africa

  • Poku Adusei


The last half-century has spawned a considerable debate about human rights and its regime complex. This regime complex consists of a web of interlocking national laws, constitutions, customs and practices, judicial decisions, and international and regional agreements regarding human rights. Also prominent in the human rights rhetoric is a growing body of academic literature describing human right norms as: jus cogens, global morality, obligations erga omnes, universal entitlements, the ‘veritable Magna Carta’ of humanity, and the inherent dignity and worth of humans. In legal circles, the concept of human rights has attained a high priority status in the hierarchy of international legal norms as compared to private interests in pharmaceuticals. Indeed, human rights norms are universal ideals that transcend any limitations and inadequacies associated with the western concept of property ownership. Equally, the concept of human rights is immune to the criticisms levelled at the globalized patent regime. In consequence, this chapter aims to emphasize that access to medicine will be enhanced by relying on the universal ideals/norms from other disciplines such as human rights law to regulate the grant of pharmaceutical patents.


Supra Note National Constitution Essential Medicine Trips Agreement African Charter 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.



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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Faculty of LawUniversity of GhanaAccraGhana

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