Legal duty of care and affordable medicines: Eva Ulenkate wins VGR Thesis Award 2024

The Association for Health Law (VGR), an academic association for lawyers and other interested parties in healthcare, aims to promote the study and development of health law. Every other year, the VGR awards a thesis award intended to encourage and stimulate the quality and originality of master’s theses in health law. Eva Ulenkate, alumna of Erasmus School of Law, won this year’s award for her thesis titled Legal Research into a Legal Duty of Care for Pharmaceutical Companies. In her research, she examined whether there should be a legal duty of care for pharmaceutical companies to prevent excessive drug prices.

“From the current legal framework, such a duty is already derivable to some extent but very limitedly enforceable. A duty of care is necessary to combat the displacement of care by excessive drug prices and profit margins and thus protect the right to health”, Eva said. Her research concludes that legislating a duty of care for pharmacists can be effective but is far-reaching. “The subsidiarity assessment shows that there is a possible alternative to a statutory duty of care that is equally effective but has fewer concerns: mandating Human Rights Due Diligence.”

Researching affordable care

Eva’s interest in researching this topic arose from the demand for affordable care. “For years, the political debate has been dominated by the question of how to keep healthcare affordable in the Netherlands. I was curious to investigate how laws and regulations can contribute to a solution.”

While writing her thesis, Eva was supervised by André den Exter, Associate Professor of Health Law at Erasmus School of Law. Eva: “I found the guidance from my thesis supervisor very pleasant. There was quick and clear communication and stimulating feedback.”

Unexpected recognition with the VGR Thesis Award

Eva did not know about the existence of the VGR Thesis Award. “I learned of the award’s existence when my supervisor [ed. Den Exter] told me at my graduation ceremony to nominate my thesis for this award”, she said. Eva was surprised and honoured when she heard she was up for the award. 

The thesis award was presented at the 2024 Annual Meeting of the Health Law Association. “The topic of my thesis fitted well with the theme of this year’s Annual Meeting: Legal aspects around scarcity in healthcare”, Eva says.

Future plans in the healthcare sector

Eva is currently doing internships as part of her second master’s in medicine. Eva: “I will graduate next academic year and am exploring jobs that involve the intersection between medicine and health law. Both disciplines are close to my heart, and I am curious to see what the future brings!”

More information

Read Eva’s thesis here (in Dutch).

Compare @count study programme

  • @title

    • Duration: @duration
Compare study programmes