Minister Patel must make COVID-19 medicines accessible to all by taking steps to #FixThePatentLaws

It’s critical that there is equitable access to a COVID-19 vaccine as soon as it becomes available. Having seen how patents can act as barriers to access to medicines in the past, we need to make sure everyone everywhere can access effective COVID-19 medicines – and that requires intellectual property reform. 

Fix The Patent Laws Coalition, a collective of over 40 organisations, has launched a petition calling on the South African government to take the following steps to help fight COVID-19:

  • Put a temporary moratorium on granting patents on COVID-19 related products as they are proven effective.
  • Automatic compulsory licensing of COVID-19 related health products with existing or pending patents.
  • Fix the Patent Laws urgently to ensure the use of all legal flexibilities to improve access to health products.

We are also calling on countries to support the progressive proposal made by the South African and Indian governments for a temporary patent waiver on COVID-19 medical products. Already developed countries are aiming to block the call to suspend the World Trade Organisation rules that prop up big pharma monopolies. 

We cannot allow profits and nationalism to triumph over the needs of people in South Africa, and across the globe. Over one hundred people have signed the petition, but it is vital that we stand united and continue our demand for a #PeoplesVaccine and equitable access to medicines. And for this to happen, we need to #FixThePatentLaws. 

Sign the petition here:

You can read the FTPL’s statement in support of the temporary waiver of all patents on products needed to test, treat or vaccinate against COVID-19 here

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