The confluence of public health fields, of international relations and of bioethics is explored from the linkage between the key concepts of inequality, development and cooperation, providing a critical analysis of health conditions in the world vis-à-vis the policies and practices of development and cooperation between countries in the Era of the United Nations.
Two questions represent the starting point: How the scientific and technological development and innovation influence the inequalities between countries, in terms of health conditions and well-being? Such inequalities can be eased with international cooperation? The economic, scientific and technological power is an arena of fierce dispute between countries, involving large private companies, interested in new discoveries, innovation and production of various inputs, such as medicines, food and other products for human use.
The different national capacities in these fields are linked to inequalities between countries and simultaneously constitute justification for international cooperation. The purpose of the course is to discuss the historical background of the situation between the post-second world war and the present day and punctuate the responsibility of States in regulating development processes associated with health inequalities in the international context.
The assumption adopted is that the State must act as legitimate representative of the interests of society in control of the production, dissemination and consumption of products and services, both those that are indispensable to tackle diseases such as those detrimental to health and welfare of individuals and collectivities – drugs, immunobiologicals, food and beverages, tobacco, pesticides etc.
In this approach, the course proposes a bioethical reflection about international cooperation, advocating urgent and essential highlight of this interdisciplinary agenda, so as to accumulate technical and political capacity in dealing with the international cooperation policies and initiatives in the area of health.