A cancer diagnosis is one of those moments in life when everything changes in an instant. Your whole world collapses around you. You are no longer the master of your own destiny. Instead your future rests in the hands of a bunch of medical experts, armed with an array of treatments designed to kill your cancer without killing too much of you at the same time.
As duty bearers of human rights, it is the responsibility of states to ensure that their citizens are able to realise their rights. The High Level Panel's recommendations are set to come out in June and will be addressed to heads of state. It is yet to be known whether these recommendations will have an accountability mechanism attached to them so it may well fall to civil society to hold governments to account.
It is these industry sponsored studies that have resulted in the prescription of statins to tens of millions of healthy people worldwide driving a multi-billion dollar industry... It's instructive to note that the drug company, Pfizer's own patient leaflet states "common side-effects that may affect up to one in 10 patients include sore throat, nausea, digestive problems, muscle and joint pain."
When we look back at this time in history, we will not be proud that we made record profits from cancer drugs while one person died of cancer every four seconds, but we can all play a part in changing this for future generations. Public pressure played a huge part in broadening access to AIDS/HIV drugs in the 1990's - the same can happen for cancer if enough of us speak up to let those in power know this is an issue we care about.
The 4th February 2016 was World Cancer Day - a day to reflect on how cancer impacts our lives. I'm sure that many of us, including me, will be thinking about loved ones we've lost or who are living with cancer right now, but it's also a time to think about what we could do to bring forward the day when we no longer live in fear of cancer.
We've come a long way in recent times in our ability to talk about mental health. Increasingly people are able to admit when they're struggling, to realise that they need help, and we're slowly, albeit too slowly for my liking, chipping away at the stigma that surrounds mental illness. But then something like this pops up.
It could be said that the investment of resources into a cure that could carry a price-tag of £1m plus per person to turn a profit is, in purely financial terms, a ridiculous thing to do. With many pharmaceutical companies linking their moral accountability solely with their shareholders, for those who contract unprofitable, neglected diseases it's often a case of "bad luck" and in many cases "goodbye".
"I believe", Mary told me at her house in Cork, "the biggest issue around this is human rights. The human right to decide what you want to do for yourself. " Regarding Electroshock in Ireland, Mary told me that the capacity to consent is not there because there are two words planted around it, 'unable' and 'unwilling'.
UK plc should not pay for Pfizer's crisis of innovation. AstraZeneca is a strategically important company to the UK, developing vital drugs both here and around the world. A takeover driven by tax efficiency and cash dividend rather than research and innovation imperils the future of UK science, research jobs, and exports.