SECTION27 condemns the action taken by pharmaceutical companies to undermine the Draft Intellectual Property Policy process that is currently underway in South Africa.  SECTION27, together with its partners has been calling for reforms to the IP regime in line with the constitutional right to health care services for many years.  The DTI’s draft policy takes bold steps to address the negative consequences of the current patent regime for access to health care services, with its proposals to amend laws which act as a barrier to improved access to medicines in South Africa.

The proposal by the US company Public Affairs Engagement (PAE), which is reported on in the Mail & Guardian today, shows that the pharmaceutical companies whose members make up the Innovative Pharmaceutical Association of South Africa (IPASA) are seeking to undermine the progress being made to protect public health through covert and anti-democratic actions, including buying ‘independent’ research from their R6m pot.  The PAE proposal uncovers an agenda to interfere with a democratic legislative process in order to protect profits not only in South Africa but in the rest of the developing world as well as to “push back” against the civil society alliance of TAC, SECTION27 and MSF which has led on this issue in South Africa.  It is critical that all progressive activists, academics, business, regional institutions and governments across the developed and developing world speak out against such underhanded tactics by these companies.

SECTION27 is having discussions with our partners about the revelations and their implications and will issue a detailed statement early next week.

For more information, please contact Umunyana Rugege on 011 356 4120 or via email: rugege@section27.org.za