RU-486 in France and England: Corporate Ethics and Compulsory Licensing
Law, Medicine and Health Care. 1992 Fall; 20(3): 226-234.
Prospects for the introduction of RU 486 into the United States in the foreseeable future are not good. Despite the drug's proven value in inducing abortion safely and effectively in early pregnancy without the need of surgery or anesthesia and its potential value in the treatment of many other diseases, it has been held hostage by the controversy over abortion....Roussel-Uclaf, the drug's manufacturer, has expressed its resolve not to become embroiled in the abortion debate and has postponed indefinitely plans to market RU 486 in the United States. The contrast between this situation and that accompanying the introduction of RU 486 into France and England, the two countries where it has so far been approved, is striking. Rather than blocking access to RU 486, the governments of these countries moved forward expeditiously with testing and approval of the drug. After expressing initial reluctance in France, Roussel-Uclaf, as well as the company's English subsidiary, responded to government involvement by committing themselves to cooperate fully in efforts to bring the drug to the public. This article will outline the legal developments surrounding the introduction of RU 486 in France and England and will explore, in the context of American, as well as French and English, law, issues of corporate responsibility for licensing valuable drugs and compulsory licensing.
Abortion; Anesthesia; Drug Industry; Drugs; Ethics; Government; Government Regulation; Health; Health Facilities; Industry; International Aspects; Law; Legal Aspects; Life; Patents; Patient Care; Political Activity; Politics; Pregnant Women; Public Health; Public Policy; Pregnancy; Regulation; Right to Life; Selection for Treatment; Standards; Surgery;
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