SECTION27 is a public interest law centre that seeks to influence, develop and use the law to protect, promote and advance human rights. Our name is drawn from the section in the South African Constitution which enshrines everyone's right to health care, food, water and social security.
Cabinet recently resolved to ask Parliament to take the necessary steps to enable South Africa to ratify a decision taken by the World Trade Organization (WTO) on intellectual property and access to medicines. At its meeting held on 16 March 2011, Cabinet decided to request Parliament to –
– ratify the WTO decision on the implementation of paragraph 6 of the Doha Declaration on the TRIPS Agreement and Public Health; and
– deposit “an instrument of ratification … with the WTO.”
As organisations that are committed to ensuring universal access to essential medicines, as an integral part of the constitutional right to have access to health care services, TAC and SECTION27 call on Parliament not to ratify the decision. In this press statement we explain why we make this call.
In our submission to the Department of Science and Technology (DST) on the draft Intellectual Property Rights from Publicly Financed Research Framework, we noted that “[w]hile we continue to advocate for the development of an intellectual property framework in South Africa that generally facilitates access to essential products, our primary concern is that the legislation and regulations . . . that will result from this process make particular provision for ensuring access to the products of research that were developed using public resources.”
The AIDS Law Project (“the ALP”) takes this opportunity to thank you and the Innovation Fund’s Intellectual Property Management Office for facilitating and hosting the provincial consultation workshop held in Cape Town on 30 March 2006. My colleague Fatima Hassan and I found the event to be extremely useful in understanding the context within which the Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) from Publicly Financed Research Framework (“the policy framework”) is situated. In addition, it provided us with an opportunity to float, consider and refine our formal submissions on the policy framework.