[Ip-health] MSF, Treatment Action Campaign demand draft IP policy in South Africa

Laura Lopez laura.lopez1 at gmail.com
Mon Feb 25 02:26:34 PST 2013

Hi all,
Below a joint statement from MSF and the Treatment Action Campaign
regarding the overdue release of the South African Department of Trade
and Industry draft IP policy, possibly of interested to everyone. This
was due to be released originally in December 2012.


On eve of ‘Africa IP Forum’, TAC & MSF ask Minister Rob Davies:
“Patent law reform is long overdue, where are your proposals?”

JOHANNESBURG, 25 February - This week the South African Department of
Trade and Industry (DTI) sponsors a high-level forum to discuss
harnessing intellectual property (IP) to encourage African economic
development and prosperity. Yet the DTI’s own new draft Policy on
Intellectual Property still languishes out of sight and mind for most
South Africans who will be directly affected.

The Treatment Action Campaign (TAC) and Médecins Sans
Frontières/Doctors Without Borders (MSF) demands an explanation from
Minister of Trade and Industry, Rob Davies as to why the submission of
the DTI's long-awaited IP draft policy to Cabinet and the subsequent
public comment period continues to be delayed – despite six months of
public assurances that the DTI would do so.

The DTI’s latest promise of a submission by early-February 2013 has now passed.

The ‘African IP Forum' (hosted from 26-27 February in Midrand), brings
together 500 participants to discuss how intellectual property can
best be used to enhance economic growth, development and access to
universal healthcare in Africa.
However, South Africa's own patent law is notorious for how easily and
casually it awards patent monopolies to pharmaceutical companies. This
blocks the entry of more affordable generic versions of medicines into
the South African market and for the South African public. With no
local patent examination system in place, South Africa grants many
patents which in other countries are rejected after scrutiny.
The South African government has a constitutional obligation to take
all reasonable legislative measures to ensure the progressive
realisation of the right to health.  Minister Davies will be aware
that international trade rules provides South Africa with a number of
legal flexibilities that have yet to be written into our national law.
The failure to implement such law reform is inexplicable in a country
that faces the tremendous health burden that we do in South Africa.

It’s therefore high time to change South Africa’s intellectual
property laws for the better and to increase universal access to
healthcare and safeguard the interests of public health.
But to start this process, Minister Davies must submit the DTI’s
proposal and share it with the South African people so that they will
have confidence in the process.


The TAC and MSF-run ‘Fix The Patent Laws’ is a grassroots South
African campaign asking for stricter patent laws to protect public
health. To find out more, visit www.fixthepatentlaws.org

Kate Ribet, Media Liaison Officer, MSF South Africa
kate.ribet at joburg.msf.org |  +27 79 872 2950 | www.msf.org.za

Laura Lopez Gonzalez, freelance journalist & independent researcher

+27 (0)11.487.3595
+27 (0)76.467.5208 (mobile)

Twitter: LLopezGonzalez
Skype: laura.lopez.gonzalez1
laura.lopez1 at gmail.com

More information about the Ip-health mailing list