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Case For Patent Law Reform


In this report, we present nine case studies that demonstrate how
systemic shortcomings in South Africa’s patent laws negatively
impact on access to medicines to treat a wide range of diseases in
both the public and private sectors.

The case studies illustrate how a flawed system can allow
pharmaceutical companies to prolong their monopoly periods in
South Africa for years – and sometimes even decades – after their
patent protections have expired in other parts of the world, to the
detriment of millions of patients.

To prolong their periods of patent protection, companies
commonly apply for multiple patents on individual medicines
over time – a tactic known as evergreening. Due to shortcomings
in South Africa’s laws – namely, a lack of examination for patent
applications – ‘evergreening’ occurs frequently.

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