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 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