Fix The Patent Laws

Doctors Without Borders responds to the EU’s submission on SA’s Draft National IP Policy

Posted on | July 3, 2015 | No Comments

In September 2013, South Africa’s Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) released a Draft National Policy on Intellectual Property for public comment. During the public comment period, the DTI received more than 100 submissions on the IP policy. [1] The submissions received by the DTI – which were leaked online – can be viewed at The submissions made to the DTI included a submission by the European Union (EU). Worryingly, the EU’s submission called for the adoption of TRIPS Plus protections [2] – in excess of what is required by the Agreement on Trade Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (‘the TRIPS agreement’) and currently provided for in South Africa’s national legislation.

The adoption of TRIPS Plus protections in the country would severely limit access to affordable medicines.  Further, the EU’s recommendations for the adoption of TRIPS Plus provisions violate the ‘European Parliament resolution of 12 July 2007 on the TRIPS Agreement and access to medicines’ to not promote TRIPS Plus measures that will negatively impact on public health in developing countries. [2]

The EU’s submission on the policy can by read here. Doctors Without Border’s response, outlining our concerns with the EU’s recommendations, can be viewed here.


2. TRIPS Plus provisions provide protections on intellectual property in excess of what is required by the TRIPS agreement.



Leave a Reply

  • About the Campaign

    fix the patent laws
    Fix the Patent Laws is a campaign of the Treatment Action Campaign (TAC). TAC is a non-profit organisation that seeks to ensure that every person living with HIV has access to quality, comprehensive prevention and treatment services to live a healthy life. 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.

  • Read the TAC and MSF campaign pamphlet

  • Latest tweets