On Tuesday, members of the Fix the Patent Laws Coalition (FTPL) marched to the Department of Trade and Industry (dti) in support of the government’s efforts to amend South Africa's patent laws to ensure everyone has access to the medicines they require.
Advocacy adviser for Doctors without Borders, Claire Waterhouse says they are very encouraged by the steps government is taking to finally tackle an issue they have been fighting for the past nine years.
Now that we are seeing a policy that is starting to pay attention to people's health care needs over the profits of big pharmaceutical corporations, we feel pretty optimistic about it.— Claire Waterhouse, Advocacy adviser for Doctors without Borders
She says they are looking for policies that would allow South Africa to incorporate standards that are already in existence within international law.
Which would mean that patents that are applied for in South Africa would be held to a higher standard, examined, and we can oppose them if need be.— Claire Waterhouse, Advocacy adviser for Doctors without Borders
Waterhouse says the pharmaceutical companies are monopolising the sector in South Africa, which means they have no competition and are able to charge exorbitant fees for medicine.
To hear the rest of the interview, listen below:
This article first appeared on CapeTalk : Lobby groups fight for affordable medicine in SA