• Tuesday, February 27, 2024
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Big Pharma may cut South African investment in generics row


Global drug firms may cut their South African investments as part of a campaign against Pretoria’s plans to overhaul its intellectual property laws to favour generic production, media documents show.

South Africa is in the final stages of implementing a new law that would allow generic drug makers to produce cut-price copies of patented medicines.

The country will generally make it harder for such firms to register and roll-over pharmaceutical patents.

The planned reforms will also close a loophole known as “ever-greening”.

The dodge allows a drug maker to make minor changes to an existing drug or discover a new use for it and then register it as a totally new find.

A document from the head of intellectual property (IP) at a drugs industry lobby group outlined a 600,000 dollars publicity campaign to mobilise local and overseas voices.

They are expected to say that the changes were wrong turn for the country.

They also seek to ensure reforms are delayed at least until after elections expected in early May by suggesting that the changes would be politically damaging for South Africa’s leaders.

“The world cares that South Africa is proposing to take a wrong turn in economic policy by weakening IP protections,” the document reads.

It was prepared by U.S.-based consultant Public Affairs Engagement for the Innovative Pharmaceutical Association South Africa (IPASA), an industry lobby group.

IPASA members include international drug makers such as Sanofi, Baxter International, Pfizer and Novartis.