(2003; 82 pages)
Annas G. The right to health and the Nevirapine case in South Africa. New England Journal of Medicine, 20 February 2003, 348(8): 750-754.
Occurring just after the legal procedures initiated by several major pharmaceutical companies against the South African Government, the Nevirapine case offers one of the finest examples of the complexity of the current human rights and health care context. This new situation was created by the apparition on the market of new antiretroviral drugs, tested to be effective and life-saving but which are far too expensive for developing countries to be able to afford them. Regarded as a human rights and health policy issue, the Nevirapine case confronted the South African Government and provincial authorities with an array of organizations headed by the Treatment Action Campaign. This article clearly reflects what was considered to be critical in the Nevirapine case: namely the State's responsibility in fulfilling the human right to health of South African people, as stated in the Constitution, and whether it could be considered as rational not to develop a comprehensive and integral national programme to tackle HIV mother-to-child transmission through the use and administration of Nevirapine (a drug that had been tested effective and endorsed by WHO). The Treatment Action Campaign's victory in this case represented a huge leap forward for all activists and advocacy organizations working to grant greater access to drugs for populations in developing countries.
Bond P. Globalization, pharmaceutical pricing and South African health policy. International Journal of Health Services, 1999, 29(4).
The article examines the case of South Africa after legislation aimed at lowering drug prices was passed by Parliament. The Medicines and Related Substances Control Amendment Act ('Medicines Act') of 1997 provides room for generic substitution by pharmacists. Scheduling of medicines, licensing of dispensers, establishment of a pricing committee and prohibition of pharmaceutical bonusing and rebates for bulk buyers are included in the Act. More controversially, it also allows parallel imports and compulsory drug licensing. The author describes the strong response by the pharmaceutical industry and some governments towards the Medicines Act, which was the subject of legal proceedings.
du Plessis E. South Africa: pharmaceutical reform. The battle over making medicines affordable. Managing Intellectual Property, June 1998, 14-17.
Controversial reforms to reduce drug prices in South Africa have angered the pharmaceutical industry and led to the country being threatened with sanctions by the USA. The author relates the history of the Medicines Amendment Act culminating in court action. She then examines what she sees as the faults of the proposed legislation with a close look at section 15C, the main source of controversy, and the threat of parallel imports and compulsory licensing.
Ngwena C. The recognition of access to health care as a human right in South Africa: is it enough? Health and Human Rights, 2000, 5(1): 29-32.
The right of access to health care services is among the economic and social rights guaranteed by the Constitution of South Africa. However, given the jurisprudential novelty of such a right and its dependence on economic resources, its realization is likely to be difficult to secure. This article discusses the scope and limitations of the right of access to health care in South Africa. Even if, when this article was published, the country's courts had not yet developed clear principles for the interpretation of the right of access to health care, the obstacles identified by the author (country's pervasive poverty, gross income disparities and extremely high burden of disease) were acknowledged as such by South Africa's constitutional court in the Nevirapine case.
WHO/AFRO. Trade-related aspects of intellectual property rights (TRIPS) and the implementation of TRIPS safeguards in relation to pharmaceuticals in the WHO African Region. Summary Report of a Workshop, Zimbabwe, August 2001. Brazzaville, WHO Regional Office for Africa, 2002.
The main goal of this workshop, organized by the WHO Regional Office for Africa (AFRO), was to develop strategies for the implementation of the TRIPS Agreement, taking into consideration safeguards related to health and pharmaceuticals. Special attention was paid during the meeting to the interaction between TRIPS and national legal frameworks on pharmaceuticals, while some proposals were put forward in connection with principles of model legislation on the implementation of TRIPS safeguards and the type of support that would be required to undertake necessary reforms. The participants, coming from 15 countries of the African Region, represented ministries of health, justice, finance and trade. They concluded the two days of discussions by issuing a set of recommendations, such as the need for increased regional collaboration (both at intercountry and subregional levels) on all TRIPS-related issues and the necessity for concerned countries to formulate national legislation to implement TRIPS safeguards.
Yusuf AA. Intellectual property protection in the countries of Africa. International Journal of Technology Management (special issue on the management of international intellectual property), 1995, 10(2/3): 269-292.
This paper examines the state of IPR and their protection and exploitation in African countries. Listed are the coverage of intellectual property laws, the subject matter of protection and the scope of rights conferred. It is shown that African legislation is generally comparable to that in developed countries with regard to terms of protection, compulsory licensing, subject matter and government and public interest use. A comparison is made between developed countries and African members of GATT in regard to fields excluded from protection. The results of surveys of some individual African countries reveal the extent of registration of patents and technology transfer to these countries. Finally, the possible impact of new legislation, especially in the context of the TRIPS negotiations of the Uruguay Round, is considered.