On 26 July 2012, the Supreme Court of Appeal handed down its judgment in the matter between the Aventis group of pharmaceutical companies and Cipla’s group of generic pharmaceutical companies.
This is the first judgment to decisively say that public interest considerations must be taken into account when balancing the interests of the patentee and the infringer in determining whether or not to grant an interim interdict. The judgment is an important advance in the law that is in line with the values of the Constitution.
SECTION27 and the Treatment Action Campaign (TAC) welcome the release of the Green Paper on National Health Insurance (NHI) for public comment. As organisations committed to the realisation of the right of everyone to have access to health care services, as guaranteed in section 27 of the Constitution, we value the opportunity to participate in what appears to be a clearly defined and well-considered policy development and implementation process that is to be accompanied and underpinned by legislative reform.
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.”
Government Notice 2007 of 2005 (Government Gazette No. 28214 of 11 November 2005) calls for submissions – amongst other things – on a methodology for conforming with international benchmarks of the prices of medicines. According to the notice, the methodology will be determined and published by the Minister of Health (“the Minister”) in terms of regulation 5(2)(e) of the Regulations Relating to a Transparent Pricing System for Medicines and Scheduled Substances (“the pricing regulations”).
In an advertisement placed in the Sunday Times (dated 23 October 2005 and entitled “Call for Submissions”), the Pricing Committee invited “interested parties to provide input on an appropriate dispensing fee as envisaged in terms of section 22G of the Medicines and Related Substances Act, Act No. 101 of 1965” (the Medicines Act). In particular, the advertisement called for interested parties to “provide input on all issues that are relevant to the determination of an appropriate dispensing fee.”
The ALP and Treatment Action Campaign made a submission to the Jali Commission in March 2004 entitled “HIV/AIDS in Prison: Treatment, Intervention, and Reform” [NOTE: LINK TO EARLIER SUBMISSION]. The submission dealt with the origins and causes of HIV infection in prisons, HIV prevalence in prisons, the HIV/AIDS policy of the Department of Correctional Services, including early release, and finally made recommendations, including several on the early release of prisoners with HIV/AIDS.
In prison, HIV/AIDS exacerbates existing problems and also creates new ones, yet the potential for far-reaching positive impact remains. Prisons are an intervention opportunity to reach a segment of the population, which is most likely to need government services related to HIV/AIDS and is also least likely to receive them through any other channel. Most people who end up in prison come from marginalised communities with limited access to health, education, and/or other sources of social welfare. For many of these people, their interaction with the criminal justice system will be their most extensive exposure to public services of any kind. Without an appropriate response to HIV/AIDS in prisons, the potential consequences will be increasingly tragic for both prisoners and the communities they represent.
The global AIDS epidemic is one of the greatest threats to security and development in the world. Millions of people in developing countries are dying of AIDS, TB and malaria – while the first world sits idly by. High prices of medicines, protected from competition by patent law, make it impossible for poor people to protect themselves against illness and death.
On 19 April 2001, the Pharmaceutical Manufacturers’ Association of South Africa (PMA) and numerous multinationalbrand-name pharmaceutical companies abandoned their legal challenge to the Medicines and Related Substances Control Amendment Act, 90 of 1997 (the Medicines AmendmentAct).