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October 10, 2004

Is "pain relief" a "right" ?

In a news article posted on Yahoo by AFP, it states that today is the first "Global Day Against Pain." So, while adding to the ever increasing list of days named for some political advocacy reason (Earth Day, Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, etc.), these folks also believe that,

Pain relief should be a human right, whether people are suffering from cancer, HIV/AIDS or any other painful condition," said Professor Sir Michael Bond, President of the International Association on the Study of Pain (IASP)

"Today's Global Day Against Pain marks an immense growth in the interest in this area and today's World Health Organisation (WHO) co-sponsorship of our campaign shows that now is the time to take pain seriously," a WHO statement quoted him as saying.


"The majority of those suffering unrelieved pain are in low and middle income countries where there is an increasing burden of chronic conditions such as cancer and AIDS.

"Limited health resources should not be allowed to deny sick people and their families the dignity of access to pain relief and palliative care, which are integral to the right to enjoy good health".

Of course, the idea that there is a "right" to pain relief is just another example of positive rights gone awry (positive rights are generally such things like a "right to a job" or a "right to affordable housing" or a "right to healthcare"). Of course, all of these individuals want the West and East Asia to pump vast amounts of money into Third World countries to pay for some kind of universal health care system. However, what this really is, in my opinion, is just another assault upon the patent system and the desire to break it in order to produce generic copies of drugs under a "right" that goes beyond the idea of "right to healthcare" and into a "right for cheap [or free] drugs."

I don't know how all of these socialists think the industrialized world can pay for this when we already have a whole slew of problems about future entitlements, and rapidly industrializing countries like China are developing entitlement problems rather quickly, as well.

Is there anything that these people don't think we have a "right" to, except maybe to be capitalists and try to create something resembling a meritocracy? Hopefully, this won't go very far.

Posted by Arcane at 08:12 PM