Why fixing South Africa’s patent laws is necessary in the fight against HIV


“The Fix the Patent Laws Campaign (FTPL) has called on Minister Ebrahim Patel and President Cyril Ramaphosa to act with urgency to ensure that SA has an intellectual property regime that ensures equitable access to life-saving vaccines and medicines,” reported Spotlight (30 Nov 2020).

“Although cabinet adopted a policy change in 2018 – changes in policy mean little if not manifested in law,” wrote. Umunyana Rugege, executive director of SECTION27.

South Africa’s patent law has not been changed since the 1970s

The FTPL, a group of over 40 organisations working to reform SA’s patent laws, is requesting the finalisation of draft amendments to the Patents Act to ensure that the government has the tools to address all public health issues. Not only the prospect of a vaccine against COVID-19, but also new drugs for HIV and TB, highlights critical importance of fixing SA patent laws.

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