Over the past 15 years, HIV activists in South Africa have won significant victories to secure affordable access to antiretroviral (ARV) treatment through challenging patent monopolies. The cost of a first line ARV regimen in the country has dropped by 96% since 2000. With access to affordable generic products, South Africa has been able to significantly scale-up ARV treatment to more than three million people. Despite critical victories won through battling patent monopolies on an ad hoc basis, systemic problems in South Africa’s laws governing the protection of patents continue to inhibit access to medicines for all illnesses in the country. Seeking to address these barriers, the Treatment Action Campaign (TAC), Doctors Without Borders (MSF) and SECTION27 launched the Fix the Patent Laws coalition in 2011. The coalition advocates for reform of South Africa’s patent laws to address the issues that block access to affordable medicines in the country. In this report, we present nine case studies that demonstrate how systemic shortcomings in South Africa’s patent laws negatively impact on access to medicines to treat a wide range of diseases in both the public and private sectors.
OUR WORK IN THE FIX THE PATENT LAWS CAMPAIGN:
Patent Barriers to medicine access in South Africa: A case for Patent law reform
Intellectual Property Consultative Framework
Joint Submission on the Draft National Intellectual Property Policy, 2013
IP Reform Timeline – Annexures