On September 4, 2013, the South African Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) published the Draft National Policy on Intellectual Property, 2013, for public comment. This draft policy is an important first step toward reforming the country’s patent laws to better ensure access to affordable medicines. Amendments to intellectual property systems may occur at a national level, but they have international ramifications. The pressure is high for countries to sign up to trade agreements that undermine legal flexibilities to protect the right to health. South Africa’s draft policy pushes back against such trends, and should be supported as a positive step toward striking a balance between recognising intellectual property rights on one hand, and protecting public health by promoting access and innovation on the other.
An open letter to the DTI supports a number of proposed reforms in the draft policy, and offers specific recommendations for further improvements. The letter welcomes signatures from academics, experts, civil society and advocacy organisations working on intellectual property and global health issues, and the promotion of access to medicines. This letter, with listed endorsements, will be submitted to the DTI on Thursday, October 17th, which is also the deadline for any independent submissions.
To endorse this letter, please send the following information to firstname.lastname@example.org by Wednesday, October 16th
Organisations please provide:
Academics/experts please provide:
Institutional affiliation (if applicable)