Friday 9 March 2012

Darren Olivier

Kenya waits on landmark decision affecting access to drugs due out today

Protestors outside court: Suleiman Mbatiah/IPS
The Constitutional Division of the High Court is expected to deliver a landmark judgment on certain suspended clauses in the Anti-Counterfeit Act of 2008 according to Africa Science News. The case is as controversial as it is important not only for Kenya but for the entire East Africa region considering new anti-counterfeit legislation. The nub of the complaint is that the current clauses prevent access to affordable generic medicine and are overly protective to rights holders.

John Syekei previously wrote this piece for Afro-IP summarising the issues and commenting that his concern is that the Court will favour public interest groups without a full analysis the law, as drafted. Essentially he believes the problem is bad drafting.

"The question that begs is whether the Constitutional Court shall in its interpretation of the [Anti-Counterfeit] law, redraft the AC law , re-look at the existing Patent laws in Kenya and issue a judicial comment on them or shall it send it back to Parliament? This decision will definitely redefine the landscape as we know it as relates to Patent protection of branded medicines, Trademark rights and Counterfeit practices." ...

An update from anyone in the region after the decision would be appreciated.

Darren Olivier

Darren Olivier

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9 March 2012 at 08:35 delete

It will be interesting to see how things unfold in the court. While the system of patents should ensure that the patent owners get their due benefit, the system in itself should not pose a hindrance to the social welfare of the general public and devoid them of access to good health and lifestyle. A more integrated approach is the call of the hour. Sheer amendments of the patents laws may not be sufficient to address all the problems.