Monday, 20 January 2014

South Africa takes on big pharma but at what risk

Reuters here
Fresh from a break and an office move to Johannesburg, this blogger wishes all Afro-IP readers belated best wishes for 2014. 

Gripping news this week is South Africa's response to news of big pharma's campaign against the draft reforms in the IP policy document reported on extensively by Afro-IP late last year (search "IP Policy notes").

The Minster of Health has called the leak of IPASA's planned campaign a "conspiracy of satanic magnitude". In response, big pharma are saying that they will reduce investment in the countryYou can read all about it here, here and here.

This row comes at an interesting time for the generics industry in South Africa and the local drugs industry in general. The latest reported news on the planned takeover of one of South Africa's major generics, Adcock Ingram, is that the Public Investment Corporation (PIC) intends vetoing the deal next month. Commentators are suggesting that it may just be that PIC do not want a South African asset to be owned by a Chilean company. 

These two developments may be completely co-incidental but is there not a real risk that read together and bearing in mind RSA's other protectionist IP laws and ongoing labour problems, any overseas investor right now with a wad of cash to spend in Africa in the pharma sector (generics or not) is going to feel that South Africa is an inhospitable, unrewarding destination? Is this good for access to life saving drugs?

Please look out for the traditional First January Post, coming soon.

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