As the public consultation on the Department of Trade and Industry’s Draft National Policy on Intellectual Property moves into its final few days there has been a wave of support from organisations, academics and experts across the globe. As it stands over 50 international organisations, across six continents have signed an open letter to the DTI calling for crucial reforms to South Africa’s patent law that will improve access to affordable medicines across the country. The deadline is still open until the end of the day for any interested parties to show their solidarity with the campaign.
That isn’t all. In addition UNDP released a significant study entitled ‘Using Law to Accelerate Treatment Access in South Africa’ which focuses on policy options surrounding patent, competition and medicines law affecting access to HIV treatment and other essential medicines. The reforms, which mirror and extend upon the demands made by the Fix the Patent Law campaign are aimed at safeguarding public health by optimising the use of public health related TRIPS flexibilities as legally allowed under international law. The report is a useful policy tool for the DTI to reference as it embarks upon the process of finalising the National Policy. The recommendations of the report are aimed at both promoting access to medicines, but in addition to develop and support policies conducive to the growth and development of the domestic pharmaceutical industry.
The international community has shown overwhelming support for our campaign to ensure South Africa is able to realise the right to health – we have even set up a social media event to allow anyone to be part of the action! Check out our Thunderclap and join the noise online! And don’t forget to follow the action tomorrow with live updates from @FixPatentLaw and via #FixPatentLaw