The right to health: implications for the funding of medicines in Australia

Claudia Harper, Narcyz Ghinea, Wendy Lipworth

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


Australia's health system is characterised by an ongoing tension between a commitment to utility and a commitment to individual rights. This tension is particularly problematic for the Australian Government when deciding which cancer medicines to add to the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme in order to make them cheaper for patients. This article investigates how the right to the highest attainable standard of health has influenced decisions about funding high-cost cancer medicines in Australia. It considers the value of the right to health for funders and concludes that resource allocation decisions should not be entirely informed by the right to health. It is maintained that, instead, regard should be had to the cost-effectiveness and affordability of cancer treatments before they are subsidised.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)640-655
Number of pages16
JournalJournal of Law and Medicine
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2017
Externally publishedYes


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