Responding to President Duterte’s Violent War on Drugs

A call for sympathy   The Philippines is under international scrutiny due to President Duterte’s violent and illegal anti-drug policies. Since becoming President on 30 May 2016, Duterte has encouraged the extrajudicial killing of drug offenders from both police departments and vigilante groups, stating in his inaugural speech at Davao City to “[d]o it yourselves if you have guns, you have my support.” The numbers alone are shocking: 1,466 killed …

A Community in Canada for Refugees

Learning from the Interim Federal Health Program Canada is currently seeing a revitalized interest in the plight of refugees, which started in early September when the tragic photos of the Kurdi family’s attempt to escape Syria were widely published in the news and shared on social media. Since then, a large number of different non-government organizations, activist groups, and …

Paid Prescriptions

How Pharma Companies Influence Medical Decision Making Pharmaceutical companies that manufacture a particular kind of drug can maintain their monopoly over this product through patent protections, preventing other companies from manufacturing, marketing, and profiting from the drug. However, drug patent protections do expire; most drugs are initially protected for around twenty years in the US, …

Challenging “Big Pharma”

Opposing Pneumonia Vaccine Patents in India On 11 March, Doctors Without Borders (DWB) officially launched a ‘patent opposition’ in India in order to better guarantee access to pneumonia vaccines for children. Pfizer, a US pharmaceutical company, is attempting to file a patent on PCV13, so-called because the product is a pneumococcal conjugate vaccine that involves …

Ceasefire in Syria?

The Safety of Hospitals and Civilian Targets On 28 February, an accord lead by the United States and Russia started the first day of a “cessation of hostilities” in Syria. The accord was accepted by President Bashar al-Assad’s government and many of his opponents, giving some analysts in the United Nations hope that the accord …

Upholding Reproductive Rights

Examining Alcohol and Zika Virus Policies The Centre for Disease Control (CDC) created a small controversy on 2 February after it released a report that recommended sexually active women should abstain from drinking alcohol. The CDC’s report intends to reduce the risk of accidental but harmful complications to pregnancies. However, some organizations have criticized the …

Healthy Climate, Health Lives

Connecting Climate Change and Health in the Paris Agreement Between 30 November to 11 December 2015, 195 countries as well as thousands of international organizations, activist groups, and spectators gathered in Paris in order to discuss how the international community will address climate change. The UN conference culminated in the adoption of the Paris Agreement …

Recognizing Environmental Rights

Environmental Sustainability in the Sustainable Development Goals International discussions on environmental sustainability has increased since the unanimous passing of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in September. Given the SDG’s broad approach to addressing the connection between international development and the environment, countries are looking for opportunities to discuss realistic ways to implement these goals. As …

Addressing Global Mental Health

The Role of the Sustainable Development Goals The United Nations voted unanimously to enact the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) on 25 September. “Transforming our world: the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development” officially comes into effect on 1 January 2016, essentially replacing the Millennium Development Goals that expire this year. These news SDGs provide countries with …