Multidrug Resistant TB: Implementing the Right to Health through the Right to Enjoy the Benefits of Scientific Progress

L. London*, H. Cox, F. Coomans

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


The right to enjoy the benefits of scientific progress (REBSP) is a little-known but potentially valuable right that can contribute to rights-based approaches to addressing multidrug-resistant TB (MDR-TB). We argue that better understanding of the REBSP may help to advance legal and civil society action for health rights. While the REBSP does not provide an individual entitlement to have a new drug developed for MDR-TB, it sets up entitlements to expect a state to establish a legislative and policy framework aimed at developing scientific capacity to address the most important health issues and at disseminating the outcomes of scientific research. By making scientific findings available and accessible, people can be enabled to claim the use of science for social benefits. Inasmuch as the market fails to address neglected diseases such as MDR-TB, the REBSP provides a potential counterbalance to frame a positive obligation on states to both marshal their own resources and to coordinate the actions of multiple other actors towards this goal, including non-state actors. While the latter do not hold the same level of accountability as states, the REBSP can still enable the recognition of obligations at a level of "soft law" responsibilities.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)25-41
Number of pages17
JournalHealth and Human Rights
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 22 Jun 2016


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