Global Health Challenges and the Role of Law

Global Health Challenges and the Role of Law

Global Health Challenges and the Role of Law: the 2012 National Health Law Conference: May 4 & 5, 2012; Metropolitan Hotel; Toronto. For the final program and registration, go to:

Legal scholars, lawyers, and human rights advocates are often prone to believe that global health and human rights issues can be best addressed through law and litigation.  But do they always make a positive difference to the disadvantaged or do they sometimes augment the inequities they are intended to remedy? This is the core theme that runs as a thread through the international Global Health Law Conference that is taking place in Toronto on May 4-5, 2012.  At this conference, leading Canadian and international scholars, policy-makers, practicing lawyers and health care professionals will explore how law can address and make progressive change to global health challenges including: access to care and essential medicines for the most vulnerable; regulating medical tourism; ensuring equitable access to high quality healthcare; addressing the spread of chronic diseases and obesity; access to medicines in a global free-trade environment; and the global politics of health care.

Various intellectual property (IP) and international trade law issues which pervade some of the most burning global health challenges will be debated at the conference. One presentation will explore, for example, the difficult challenge of promoting affordable drug development to address health needs faced by developing and middle income nations under the current international patent regime. Another presenter will discuss the importance of developing a global governance regime to ensure access to reliable safety and effectiveness information. The connection between international trade agreements and human rights will come up in discussions related to pharmaceuticals, but also in the context of presentations on reproductive tourism. Other presentations will focus on tobacco control, the governance of non-communicable diseases, and the role of law in protecting vulnerable populations. James Morone of Brown University will further give a visionary plenary presentation looking at the future of health care in light of the technological changes we are facing, with the intriguing title “Creaky Policies in Nanotime: How will Health Care Systems Cope with Global Age."

The conference further features a keynote panel debate:  "Can Law Meet Global Health Challenges?  Perspectives from Medicine and Politics", with as panelists: Abdallah S. Daar, Senior Scientist, the McLaughlin-Rotman Centre for Global Health & & Dalla Lana School of Public Health, University of Toronto; Theodore R. Marmor, Health Care Policy, Politics and Law Expert, Yale University; Michael Ignatieff, Senior Resident, Massey College, University of Toronto; and James Orbinski, Chair and Professor in Global Health, Dalla Lana School of Public Health; Co-Director, Global Health Diplomacy Program, Munk School of Global Affairs, University of Toronto

For Ontario lawyers, this program can be applied towards the 9 Substantive Hours of annual Continuing Professional Development (CPD) required by the Law Society of Upper Canada. The program may also be applicable towards up to 15 CPD hours for other jurisdictions within Canada and the U.S. Practitioners from these jurisdictions should confirm the applicability with their local law societies.

Trudo Lemmens is an Associate Professor in the Faculties of Law and Medicine of the University of Toronto, and a member of the Joint Centre for Bioethics and the Centre for Ethics.