Focus Group Discussion on the Draft of Human Rights Due Diligence Guideline for Pharmaceutical Companies

Focus Group Discussion on the Draft of Human Rights Due Diligence Guideline for Pharmaceutical Companies

The Ministry of Health, the Ministry of State-Owned Enterprises, the Ministry of Law and Human Rights, Indonesian Chamber of Commerce and Industry, pharmaceutical companies, academics, and civil society organizations have participated in a focus group discussion (FGD) to discuss the draft of a Human Rights Due Diligence Guideline for Pharmaceutical Companies that has been developed by FIHRRST. The FGD was held by Foundation for International Human Rights Reporting Standards (FIHRRST) on Tuesday, 22 September 2020 through Zoom.

During the discussion, the participants shared their views in an effort to implement human rights due diligence. One of the pharmaceutical companies participating in the discussion, Kalbe Farma, shared its best practice in business and human rights.  Its Director of R&D and External Relations, Pre Agusta Siswantoro, revealed the company’s effort in mapping, identifying, communicating, and following up the human rights impact.

Meanwhile, Andi Taletting, Deputy Director for Human Rights Cooperation at Ministry of Law and Human Rights asserted the importance of rights to information, responsible marketing practices, and drugs control to protect consumers.

The issue was intensely discussed, considering the important role of the pharmaceutical industry in promoting the right to health and the potential impact of human rights on its business activities. These include clinical trial ethics, protection of patient information data, drug authenticity, accessibility of drugs, supply chains, and impact on the environment.

The discussion was part of the cooperation between the Ministry of Health and FIHRRST in mainstreaming business and human rights. Previously, dissemination, training, and observation activities have been carried out jointly since 2019.

The role of the government is to assist companies to apply due diligence according to the Guiding Principles for Business and Human Rights. It is to protect workers from human rights violations, through policies, regulations, and proper dispute resolutions,” Drg. Oscar Primadi, MPH, Secretary General at the Ministry of Health, affirmed.

Upon the discussion, the participants recognized that the pharmaceutical industry has specific human rights impacts. Thus, the human rights due diligence guideline, specifically designed for pharmaceutical companies, is expected to assist and encourage pharmaceutical companies to carry out their obligations to respect human rights.

The human rights due diligence guideline covers assessment of potential and actual negative impacts on human rights, integration and action on the results of human rights impact assessments, measurement of the effectiveness of the follow-up results, and communication of the due diligence process, especially for those affected by human rights violations.

Wahyu Wagiman, Executive Director at ELSAM, also approved the importance of human rights due diligence. Citing 2050 Research, he argued that business, in order to survive in 2050, has to integrate the environment as a part of its principles, have an anti-bribery policy in place, respect for human rights, and pay attention to its consumers including those volunteering in research and development.

All of the provided suggestions and input shared during the discussion would then be used for the improvement and finalization of the Human Rights Due Diligence Guideline currently being drafted by FIHRRST. A follow-up FGD is planned to be held in late January 2021.

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