Fix The Patent Laws

SA’s Dept of Trade & Industry delay patent law reform, while local drug prices remain excessive

PRETORIA – The Treatment Action Campaign (TAC) and Doctors Without Borders (MSF) today delivered a memorandum to the Department of Trade and Industry (dti) at the National Workshop on Intellectual Property and Public Health in Pretoria, outlining needed reforms to South Africa’s patent laws in order to expand access to more affordable drugs. The country’s […]

TAC asks Supreme Court of Appeal to consider public health in patent dispute over cancer medicine

The TAC National Council has resolved to seek admission in a legal dispute between the brand name drug company Aventis Pharma and the generic company Cipla, over a claim of patent infringement on a drug that treats cancer called Docetaxel. SECTION27 will act as attorneys for TAC. This briefing note sets out the background to […]

India issues its first compulsory license to protect health, South Africa continues to lag behind

Early this month, India issued its first ever compulsory license, for generic manufacture and sale of Sorafenib (brand name: Nexavar). Bayer was granted a patent on Sorafenib in India in 2008. After unsuccessfully negotiating with Bayer for a voluntary license, generic pharmaceutical company Natco Pharma Ltd applied for a compulsory license in July 2011. The Indian […]

South Africa’s medical schemes hoodwinked by AstraZeneca

Esomeprazole highlights how South Africa’s medical schemes are paying the price for the country’s strict protection of intellectual property, coupled with weak standards of patentability. South Africa should amend its Patents Act to explicitly exclude new formulation medicines from patentability in order to reduce the cost of medicines.  Additionally the fact that Esomeprazole retains market […]

Patent trickery

A critique of South Africa’s patent laws was published in the February 2012 issue of South African magazine Noseweek. The article further highlighted how our laws have allowed pharmaceutical giant Bayer to block generic versions of Yasmin from entering the market, retaining their monopoly on the popular birth control tablets. Read the article at

Highlighting medicines affected by strict IP laws: Linezolid

Generic name: Linezolid Brand name: Zyvox and Zyvoxid Cost in South Africa: R282.25 per 600 mg tablet in the public sector and R593.01 per 600 mg tablet in the private sector (SEP ex VAT) Linezolid is used in the treatment of drug resistant tuberculosis (TB) and other serious infections. It is recommended to treat complicated […]

« go back
  • 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.

  • Read the TAC and MSF campaign pamphlet

  • Latest tweets