Friday, 24 January 2014

South Africa - more on pharma controversy

There is something in the rooibos at the Union Buildings this week. Some twist in that famous tea that has emboldened South Africa's ministers. Whether it be lambasting the national soccer players as "a bunch of losers - unbearable, useless individuals" or telling off big pharma for masterminding a campaign of "satanic proportions", their outbursts have caused controversy.
 
Commenting on the pharma debate (see background posts here and here), Danie Dohmen, a partner at Adams & Adams was recently quoted in WIPR saying that "the advocacy groups who are “essentially calling for a weakening of the patent system” are themselves “well -funded and have a well-developed” strategy.

"The irony is that it is their advocacy campaign which resulted in the innovator organisations [big Pharma] having to consider similar strategies to have their perspectives on the matter heard,” Dohmen told WIPR.
Adding his view on the draft policy:

Dohmen


"One of the concerns [with the draft policy] is that some of the proposed policies will result in a weakening of the patent system which is likely to have a negative effect to the long term access to new medicines in South Africa.

“If patent rights are eroded the incentive for manufacturers to seek improved drugs and to bring them to market in South Africa will also be eroded and future South African generations will probably not have access to the required new and improved products.”

Dohmen added: "There is a lot of misinformation on the current South African patent law and its effect on access to medicines. Any campaign which would result in an honest, open, informed and rational discussion on these aspects should be encouraged.

"There is still a long road to go before any of the draft policies find their way into legislation and it is thus important that all interest groups are allowed the opportunity to voice their concerns and for the issues to be properly debated and considered."
 
You can read the full WIPR report here.

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