Chicago Journal of International Law


Public-private partnerships governing global health are making progress in relation to the prevention and treatment of diseases such as AIDS, tuberculosis, and malaria. This progress should not be underestimated as these partnerships are making strides above and beyond efforts of either the public or private sector alone. As a consequence, partnerships are increasingly exercising public power over global health in addition to, or instead of states and international organizations and are thus also becoming capable of adversely impacting the rights of individuals, in particular the right to life and the right to health. Responsibility under international law therefore arises as an issue but, at the moment, partnerships are not directly addressed by the rules of responsibility under international law. This Article describes global health public-private partnerships and discusses how public power over global health is increasingly being exercised by these partnerships thereby necessitating a further discussion on responsibility under international law. It highlights a gap in responsibility and suggests closing this gap by holding international organizations, as partners and/or hosts, responsible under international law for the acts of these partnerships.