670. The initiative of the UN Secretary-General echoes the concern expressed by the Holy See regarding agreements on IP and access to medicines and essential health care. The achievement of a stronger balance between the protection of the right of inventors, international human rights law and public health objectives is clearly foreseen in Sustainable Development Goal 3: to Achieve Universal Health Coverage (UHC). This is a unique moment in history. Ensuring the success of the SDGs, including an end to the epidemics of AIDS, tuberculosis, malaria and neglected tropical diseases and combating hepatitis, water-borne and other communicable diseases will require global solidarity and partnership, especially in times of diverse and demanding global challenges.
671. As the UN Secretary-General has stated, in spite of all the efforts and the promising results from the Millennium Development Goals, millions have been left behind; consequently, member States have agreed on the Sustainable Development Goals targeting the year 2030.
672. In the Encyclical Letter, Pope Francis recalls the troubling extent of exclusion in our world. He says "there is little in the way of clear awareness of problems which especially affect the excluded. Yet, they are the majority of the planet's population, billions of people (...)".
673. Access to affordable medicines no longer represents a challenge just for the LDCs and other developing countries; it has also become an increasingly urgent issue for developed countries. In particular, States find themselves unable to combat antimicrobial resistance. Moreover, developing countries are confronted with a serious lack of new medicines, even as public health budgets are constrained worldwide.
674. As we are all aware, health is a fundamental human right, essential for the exercise of many other rights, and it is necessary for living a life in dignity. The realization of the right to health should be a fundamental goal of national policies and programmes, regardless of respective economic, social, cultural, religious or political contexts.
675. Access to essential medicines, which satisfy the priority health care needs of the population, is a key component of the right to health. Since essential medicines must be selected with due regard to disease prevalence and public health relevance, evidence of clinical efficacy and safety, and comparative costs and cost-effectiveness, they should be available at prices that are affordable both to individuals and local communities. Thus, if we are to put in place policies that reflect human dignity and a human rights approach we must confront and remove barriers, address questions of affordability, and particularly, temper a disproportionate and exaggerated demand for profits. Through dialogue, which represents the best way to confront the problems of our world and to seek solutions that are truly effective, we can contribute towards the building of a better world and a better future for coming generations. Three helpful principles for such dialogue are: solidarity, subsidiarity, and concern for the common good.
676. The Report of the High-Level Panel represents a point of departure from which we could start to discuss remedies and correct the misalignments and policy incoherencies between the individual and corporate rights of inventors, innovators or manufacturers and broader human rights.
677. As stated by Pope Francis: "Interdependence and the integration of economies should not bear the least detriment to existing systems of health care and social security; instead, they should promote their creation and good functioning. Certain health issues … require urgent political attention, above and beyond all other commercial or political interests".