TAC paper responds to inaccurate industry claims following the pharmagate scandal

“The Economic & Social Case for Patent Law Reform in South Africa”

Lotti Rutter and Catherine Tomlinson

This updated research paper from the Treatment Action Campaign seeks to respond with reasoned analysis to a number of inaccurate claims that have been made by the pharmaceutical industry, particularly following the PharmaGate scandal. The evidence highlights how South Africa’s current intellectual property system allows exploitation by foreign companies whilst impeding access to medicines and the growth of our local industry. Additionally, the paper demonstrates that there is little evidence to back up industry claims that the adoption of public health safeguards in South Africa will undermine the development of future medicines.

The reforms proposed by the Department of Trade and Industry in South Africa are not radical. They are moderate, legal, rationale reforms acknowledged by global institutions including the WTO, WHO and WIPO. Nothing in the proposed reforms to South Africa’s Patent Act will do a way with patents. Truly innovative new treatments will still be patentable. Instead, what the Fix the Patent Laws campaign seeks is a more rational patent regime that takes into account South Africa’s health, developmental, social and economic needs. A regime that is based on relevant evidence rather than ideology.

You can access the research paper here: The Economic and Social Case for Patent Law Reform in South Africa.

For more information please contact:

Lotti Rutter

Senior Researcher – Treatment Action Campaign

+27 81 818 8493


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