As the Fix the Patent Laws campaign gains traction and South Africa moves closer towards the kind of intellectual property reform that will vastly improve access to affordable medicines, a number of claims are being publicised by the pharmaceutical industry and their allies seeking to protect their business interests. The purpose of this myth-buster is to clarify that adopting legal TRIPS safeguards will not only support public health efforts but also benefit local industry and economic development.
The evidence highlights how South Africa’s current intellectual property system allows exploitation by foreign companies while impeding the growth of our local industry. In addition, the paper highlights the flaws in pharma’s claim that protecting health in South Africa will inhibit the development of future medicines. Big pharma has systematically evaded investing in needs driven innovation for neglected diseases and developing country disease burdens, while simultaneously forcing developing countries to uphold patents blocking access to life-saving medicines.
You can find the Treatment Action Campaign (TAC) mythbuster here.