Module lead: Mr Peter Roderick
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This is a compulsory module for the MSc, global health, law and governance, and an elective module for the MSc global public health and policy, MSc international primary health care, and MSc health systems and global policy.

It is intended to introduce students to some of the key international legal instruments and organisations that influence public health standards and policies.

This module will provide an introduction to international processes and legal regimes which are leading to global standard-setting and influence over national public health policies. Our focus will be on pharmaceuticals and international legal instruments across human rights, trade, and environmental sectors that are particularly relevant for public health. We will critically examine the powers, instruments, and policies of the World Health Organization and the World Trade Organization with respect to tobacco control, health services liberalisation, and harmonisation of pharmaceutical standards. We will also examine key international conventions and protocols concerning climate change, air pollution, and human rights.


• Understand critically the institutions of global public health standard setting.
• Understand critically of the legal instruments of services trade liberalisation, tobacco control, climate change, and air pollution.
• Develop a knowledge of standard setting processes in a range of international public health standards
• Analyse international standard setting processes from democratic and legal perspectives
• Critically appraise the public health effects of specific international conventions and protocols
• Synthesise findings with respect to commonly accepted public health standards


Key texts
• World Health Organization, World Trade Organization (2002). WTO agreements and public health: a joint study by the WHO and the WTO secretariat. Geneva: WHO/WTO.
• Lee K, Buse KJ, Fustukian S (eds) (2002) Health policy in a globalising world. London: Cambridge University Press.
• Mossialos E, Mrazek M, Walley T. (eds) (2004) Regulating pharmaceuticals in Europe: striving for efficiency, equity and quality. Buckingham: Open University Press.


(i) presentation, 10 minutes (20%); (ii) essay-style tutor marked assignment, 3,000 words (80%)