South Africa, Pharmaceuticals and Intellectual Property

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From CPTech report (2001) [[1]]

"A group of 39 pharmaceutical companies has dropped its lawsuit against the government of South Africa. They had taken South Africa to court over its Medicines and Related Substances Act. The main issue was Amendment 15(c) which would allow TRIPS-compliant compulsory licensing and parallel imports of medicines in South Africa. The suit was first filed on February 18, 1998." See background to the court case

"On March 6, 2001, the South African court hearing the case ruled that the Treatment Access Campaign (TAC) would be granted a friend of the court role. It also adjourned the case until April 18, bowing to threats from the PMA to file an appeal on the grounds that they needed additional time to response to the new evidence and issues raised by TAC."

"On April 19, 2001, the pharmaceuticals companies, under an exremely high amount of international pressure, dropped their case." [[2]]

See Treatment Action Campaign Medicines Act Court Case main page [[3]]. See also TAC home page [[4]]

Important policy flow-ons from the case include the April 2001 WHO conference (which recommended differential pricing) [[[[5]]]] and the Doha WTO Ministerial (December 2001) which re-affirmed the legitimacy of compulsory licensing and for export (Doha Statement on Public Health). See full collection of relevant WTO documents [[6]]

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