[Ip-health] Business Day: Roche follows Novo-Nordisk out of Ipasa

Thiru Balasubramaniam thiru at keionline.org
Mon Feb 3 05:39:36 PST 2014


Business <http://www.bdlive.co.za/business/> /
Roche follows Novo-Nordisk out of Ipasa
BY TAMAR KAHN, JANUARY 31 2014, 15:48

SWISS drug maker Roche on Friday resigned from the Innovative
Pharmaceutical Association of South Africa (Ipasa), making it the second
casualty of a controversial campaign against the government's plans to make
medicines cheaper.

Ipasa represents research-based pharmaceutical companies who hold the
patents on medicines and found itself at the centre of a political storm
two weeks ago when a R6m strategy proposed by US lobby group Public Affairs
Engagement (PAE) was leaked to the media. PAE proposed a campaign that
would fight the government's draft intellectual property (IP) policy, which
proposes changes to the law that will promote access to cheap generic
medicines, by creating a front organisation in South Africa that would in
fact be run from the US.

"Neither does Roche support this campaign nor have we given our approval.
We believe it is in our interest to resign from Ipasa," Roche South Africa
manager Burcak Celik said in a statement.

"Industry plays a vital role in access to healthcare and Roche will
continue to work with many different partners to continuously and
sustainably reduce barriers in access to healthcare," she said.

Denmark's Novo-Nordisk quit Ipasa last week, and earlier this week
Swiss-based Novartis publicly distanced itself from the PAE's campaign.

"Novartis would like to be clear that it (the PAE campaign position paper)
originated from a third party and that Novartis was not involved with the
drafting of the document, nor did it support or approve the draft document
either independently or in its capacity as a member of Ipasa," Novartis's
head of operations in South Africa, Luciano Marques, said in response to
questions from BDlive.

Ipasa chief operating officer Val Beaumont maintained the departure of
Roche and Novo-Nordisk did not weaken the association's position.
"Obviously it is ideal to have everyone under one roof, but we mustn't
assume we have different agendas," she said. "We still have a large
membership, but we have never represented the whole industry," she said.

She said Ipasa was still seeking a meeting with Health Minister Aaron
Motsoaledi. "We have no date, but we don't doubt we will get that meeting."

The reforms for drug patents are outlined in a draft intellectual property
policy published by the Department Trade and Industry last September, which
emphasises the government's desire to increase access to medicines by
promoting cheap generics.

One of the changes it proposes is the introduction of a patents examination
office, which would scrutinise all patent applications. Currently patent
applications are de facto rubber stamped and it is up to a rival to oppose
them. The policy also covers music, software and trademarks.

More information about the Ip-health mailing list