A polyhedral concept, difficult to define and insusceptible to static delimitation, health is a reality that is not reduced to the mere absence of disease, but rather represents “a state of complete physical, psychological and social well-being”, in the terms defined by the WHO, demanding the consideration of individual and collective dimensions.
“Ensure healthy lives and promote well-being for all at all ages” is one of the Sustainable Development Goals (UNGA, 2015) as a dimension of a model of justice and global governance, with links to other stated goals being evident, from fighting poverty and reducing inequality to building effective, accountable, and inclusive institutions.
The protection, which includes legal protection, of health nowadays has to be envisaged in a global, multilevel and integrated perspective. In particular, taking into account a human rights perspective, as is supported by the WHO, there are obligations for States and other entities (particularly private) with responsibility for defining public policies and allocating resources, in order to promote equality and participation, with attention to the needs of the most vulnerable. There are several areas in need of legal regulation, such as the access to healthcare and to the scientific developments in the field of procreation and genetics, the use of medical devices, the digitalization of healthcare and emedicine.
II. This Project aims to analyse the challenges currently faced by the legal protection of health to:
a) identify the specific legal issues that need to be envisaged,
b) systematize the existing responses to them, and
c) identify new perspectives of approach to both the issues and legal reactions.
The axes of the project are:
Axis I - Globalization, universalization, and commodification of health in a context of unforeseen circumstances;
Axis II - Protection and promotion of health in a context of innovation and in an aging world;
Consequently, the main objectives to be achieved will be the following:
‒ contribute to the advancement of legal reflection (global and, in particular, referring to the Portuguese legal system) on the subjects considering the contribution of other sciences;
‒ disseminate knowledge to professionals and to civil society, contributing to a more adequate protection and promotion of health in preventive, restorative and even augmentative terms;
‒ contribute to the integration of knowledge at a local and global level and to the dialogue of different fields of science.
III. The project focuses on a broad legal perspective without neglecting the essential interdisciplinary vision (from economics to bioethics), nor the dialogue between Portuguese and foreign researchers and institutions. It is also proposed to involve stakeholders and students.
The objectives will be primarily achieved through conferences, workshops, and other specialized forums for reflection, as well as the production of specialized publications and the organization of events to disseminate the results.