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George Annas, "Zika: Public Health (and Safety) Emergencies"


Published on

January 23, 2017

The Fifth Annual Health Law Year in P/Review symposium featured leading experts discussing major developments during 2016 and what to watch out for in 2017. The discussion at this day-long event covered hot topics in such areas as health policy under the new administration, regulatory issues in clinical research, law at the end-of-life, patient rights and advocacy, pharmaceutical policy, reproductive health, and public health law.

The Fifth Annual Health Law Year in P/Review was sponsored by the Petrie-Flom Center for Health Law Policy, Biotechnology, and Bioethics at Harvard Law School, Harvard Health Publications at Harvard Medical School, Health Affairs, the Hastings Center, the Program On Regulation, Therapeutics, And Law (PORTAL) in the Division of Pharmacoepidemiology and Pharmacoeconomics at Brigham and Women’s Hospital, and the Center for Bioethics at Harvard Medical School, with support from the Oswald DeN. Cammann Fund.

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George Annas, "Zika: Public Health (and Safety) Emergencies"

  1. 1. Zika: Public Health (and Safety) Emergencies George J. Annas Professor & Director, Center for Health Law, Ethics & Human Rights Boston University Schools of Public Health, Medicine, and Law
  2. 2. by George Annas, Sandro Galea and Donald Thea BOSTON GLOBE, Feb. 1, 2016 “Zika virus is not Ebola”
  3. 3. “A Gold Medal in Fear Mongering” Galea, Thea & Annas HUFFINGTON POST, June 2, 2016
  4. 4. Major Human Rights Documents • Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) • Geneva Conventions • International Covenant Civil & Political Rights (ICCPR) • International Covenant Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ICESCR) • Convention and the Rights of the Child (CRC) • Convention on the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW)
  5. 5. • America First • Seal the Borders
  6. 6. • A “public health emergency of international concern” (art. 12) • “extraordinary event…risk of international spread of disease…potentially requiring an international response.” The sovereign right [of each state to legislate and implement health policies shall be respected]
  7. 7. • H1N1 (2009) • Polio (2014) • Ebola (2014) • Zika (2016)
  8. 8. Public Health Emergency Responses 1. Prevention remains primary goal (a) can’t make prevention efforts worse off; (b) can’t create ‘worse’ viruses/infectious agents. 2. Government has Primary Responsibility (therefore must follow basic human rights law, esp. nondiscrimination; right to health; women & children). 3. Must be Sustainable; should contribute to building a health care system and infrastructure, not silos. 4. No emergency exceptions to informed consent for research. (including gene drives)