Fix The Patent Laws

South African Cabinet Approves New Intellectual Property Policy

Posted on | May 24, 2018 | 3 Comments

 

fix-the-patent-laws3The Fix the Patent Laws Coalition (FTPL) welcomes the news today that the Cabinet of the Government of South Africa has approved the new Intellectual Property (IP) Policy. After nine years of policy development, two different draft policies and various rounds of public consultation, we now finally have an agreed-upon government policy that can guide much-needed law reform. Though we await seeing the final policy until it is gazetted by government, we are optimistic that the policy will herald a new era for access to medicines in South Africa by prioritising people’ lives over the profits of pharmaceutical corporations.

While the finalisation and adoption of a policy is an important milestone, the hard work of developing and passing legislative amendments is still ahead of us. We urge the Department of Trade and Industry to prioritise the development of bills that will bring a more humane and Constitutionally sound balance to our legal framework.

The approval of the new IP policy is particularly poignant given that it comes just days after the loss of one of our members and brave patient activists, Sue Johnson, on 16 May 2018, to Multiple Myeloma, for which she was unable to access the recommended treatment (a medicine called lenalidomide) due to its exhorbitant cost of R75,000 per month. This same medicine is available in India for just R5,000 per month. We remember at this time also our dear colleague Tobeka Daki, who passed away in November 2016 from HER2+ Breast Cancer, and who too was unable to afford the medicine she needed – trastuzumab, which cost approximately R500,000 per course at the time. We salute these brave comrades and the many others who have not been able to get the medicines they needed as a result of South Africa’s regressive patent system.

Though we celebrate today as an important step in the right direction, we will continue the fight to fix South Africa’s patent laws until all who need affordable medicines can access them. We remain committed to a world where no-one is denied life-saving or suffering preventing treatment simply because they cannot afford it.

FTPL will release a full statement after having read and analysed the new policy in detail.

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3 Responses to “South African Cabinet Approves New Intellectual Property Policy”

  1. South African Cabinet Approves New Intellectual Property Policy | infojustice
    May 24th, 2018 @ 4:03 pm

    […] the Patent Laws Coalition, Link] The Fix the Patent Laws Coalition (FTPL) welcomes the news today that the Cabinet of the […]

  2. - iprpolicy
    May 25th, 2018 @ 8:29 am

    […] South African Cabinet Approves New Intellectual Property Policy […]

  3. Five years after the Indian Supreme Court’s Novartis verdict - Make Medicines Affordable
    June 1st, 2018 @ 9:44 am

    […] On 24 May 2018, the Cabinet of the Government of South Africa approved the new Intellectual Property (IP) Policy. After nine years of policy development, two different draft policies and various rounds of public consultation, there is now an agreed-upon government policy that can guide much-needed law reform.  […]

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  • About the Campaign

    fix the patent laws
    Fix the Patent Laws is a campaign co-founded by SECTION27, Treatment Action Campaign (TAC) and Doctors Without Borders (MSF) in 2011. Since then, the coalition has grown to include 38 other organisations fighting together to push South Africa to amend its patent laws to prioritise public health. Through this blog we will highlight how amending South Africa’s Patents Act 57 of 1978 will reduce the cost of medicines, improving the health and saving the lives of millions of South Africans.

    The members of the Fix the Patent Laws Campaign are as follows: Treatment Action Campaign (TAC), Doctors Without Borders (MSF), SECTION27, the South African Non-Communicable Diseases Alliance (SANCD Alliance), DiabetesSA, EpilepsySA, Marie Stopes South Africa, Stop Stock Outs Project (SSP), South African Depression and Anxiety Group (SADAG), Cape Mental Health (CMH), the South African Federation of Mental Health (SAFMH), Schizophrenia and Bipolar Disorders Alliance (SABDA), as well as the following members of the Cancer Alliance and Advocates for Breast Cancer: Breast Course 4 Nurses, Breast Health Foundation, Cancer Association of South Africa (CANSA), Cancer Heroes, Can-Sir, CanSurvive, Care for Cancer Foundation, Childhood Cancer Foundation of South Africa (CHOC), Hospice Palliative Care Association (HPCA), Igazi Foundation, Look Good Feel Better, Love your Nuts, Lymphoedema Association of South Africa (LAOSA), Men’s Foundation, National Council Against Smoking, National Oncology Nursing Association of SA, Pancreatic Cancer Network of SA (PanCan), People Living With Cancer (PLWC), Pink Trees for Pauline, Pink Phoenix Cancer Foundation, Pocket Cancer Support, Project Flamingo, Rainbows and Smiles, Reach for Recovery, South African Oncology Social Work Forum (SAOSWF), The Pink Parasol Project, The Sunflower Fund, Vrede Foundation and Wings of Hope.

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