HSP Seminar#195 “Human Security and Business” Series No. 2: Responsibility of a pharmaceutical corporation of access to essential medicines: What makes a corporation decide to act beyond compliance?

Since HIV/AIDS was first observed in 1981 in the United States, it has been a life-or-death threat to the rich and the poor equally. However, once a multidrug therapy was developed, it allowed people who can afford this treatment to live along with the disease while the poor remained dying without hope. This problem of global inequality between the rich and the poor has been discussed intensively since at the turn of the century. In 2001, Bristol Meyers Squibb, which manufactures the AIDS drug Zerit, agreed to release the patent in Africa so that poor people there can access to the drug, an unprecedented decision in the pharmaceutical industry. It is worth considering why and how the decision was made, given the decision seems to be conflicting with financial interests of the firm. In this seminar, we will discuss which actors are actually involved in the issue of access to essential medicines, with focus on the university-industry collaboration in the field of pharmaceutical R&D in the United States, and examine the condition under which pharmaceutical companies change their decisions in order to reconcile financial interests and the human rights responsibilities.

Date: Friday 3rd July 2015, 18.30-20.00

Venue: Collaboration Room No. 4 (fourth floor), Building Number 18, Komaba Campus, The University of Tokyo

Presenter: Ms. Mao Suzuki (PhD student of Hitotsubashi University Graduate School of Law, Research Fellow of Japan Society for the Promotion of Science, Visiting Scholar, Australian National University)


Mr. Hiroyuki Komyo (General Counsel, Bristol Meyers Squibb Co. Ltd.)

Mr. Satoyu Arima (Associate Director, CSR Department, Legal Affairs & CSR Division, Daiichi Sankyo Co, Ltd.)

Mr. Takayuki Kitajima (General Counsel, Representative Director, Unilever Japan Holdings KK.)

Chair: Prof. Yasunobu Sato (Professor of The University of Tokyo)

Organisers: Research Center of Sustainable Peace, Institute of Advanced Global Studies, The University of Tokyo, NPO Human Security Forum, Human Right Due Diligence Study Group

Supporters: Health and Human Security Project, Research Center of Sustainable Development and Research Center of African Study, UN Global Compact  Japan Network

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