Like many other nations, the immense umbrella of Intellectual Property Law in South Africa (SA) also encompasses the legislation that involves patents, trademarks, industrial designs, and copyright protection. Intellectual property (IP) refers to intangible assets that are created through human intellect. Although beneficial to the owner (creator/ producer) in many ways, these IP assets are vulnerable to exploitation by third parties and should be protected by a powerful means. IP law is one of the best ways famous for protecting intangible IP that can hold immense value. It is a crucial source used to restrict the unlawful use of inventors’ unique assets, and thus, ensure the Intellectual Property Protection in South Africa and other regions worldwide.
Another main objective of the administrators, attorneys, etc., taking care of the IP law in South Africa is to encourage the creators to create more and more intellectual goods. Unfortunately, as the Intellectual Property Rights (IPRs) provided under the IP law allow the owners to prevent others from using their assets, they often confer negative rights. Hence, it is essential to revise the IP law in South Africa to ensure that people seeking access to healthcare shouldn’t be denied healthcare lifesaving drugs.
One considerable fact about IP law in SA when it comes to the healthcare area is that the granted IPR, i.e., patent enables the pharmaceutical companies to prohibit others from manufacturing and selling the same medicines. The patent, no matter whether for the protection of medications or anything else, lasts for around 20 years in most of the nations globally. It bestows the companies with a monopoly to determine and set the price of medicines produced by them on their own. The highly-priced drugs often push the people in desperate and fatal situations, thus making it vital to revise the Patent Law of South Africa that lead to the granting of excessive licenses fueling pharmaceutical monopolies.
Measures South Africa is Taking or Should Take
Concerning the call to revise IP law in SA and several other nations, the World Health Organization (WHO) has provided some rules and stated that the public health principles related to access to medicines are sustained by the Constitution of WHO along with a wide range of national and international legal policies. Besides, Intellectual Property Rules from the human rights viewpoint must be supervised under principles supporting not just the public health goals but access to medicines as well.
Still, several pharmaceutical firms focus on monopolizing the production of drugs, especially for TB, cancer, and hepatitis C that are the most leading cause behind deaths in SA, only for making profits.
A physician named Dr. Eric Goemaere, who introduced HIV treatment in SA in 2017, said that the treatments for HIV and cancer are very complicated and expensive. That’s why people are afraid of even looking at them. The most disconcerting thought revolves around the resistance put up by big pharmaceutical companies on the creation and availability of these treatments when the patient is dying. The Treatment Action Campaign is the biggest organization that came up to provide relief in such instances by ensuring that all people in South Africa can access suitable medical treatment. By making the large pharmaceutical firms grant licenses to small companies for manufacturing generic ARV (antiretroviral) and numerous other relevant things, it ensures that the appropriate medical facilities are available to all South Africans.
No doubt that the rapidly advancing technology has provided us with numerous new medicines and antiretrovirals, but the concerning fact is that all these are very expensive. Hence, it is recommended that the government, pharmaceutical organizations, and IP Attorneys in South Africa should work on new research and development (R&D) models to delink the cost of R&D from the total cost for drugs or treatments. South Africa should likewise think about the approaches for incentivizing R&D through cash prizes, grants, and more, instead of supporting patent monopolies leading to excessive pricing. The nation should also advocate worldwide leadership by funding people for initiatives like researches. It even needs to invest in the development of drugs for the future rather than just thinking about the intellectual property market in South Africa or outside.
Ordinary People of South Africa
For ordinary people in South Africa, the present scenario means that they can anytime face the situation when it will be essential for them to get unaffordable medicines that are secured under patents preventing other manufacturers from coming up with an affordable alternative. It also means that human rights, constitutional rights, and health are commodified, allowing firms with patents to deploy human sufferings for extracting profits. In short, it suggests that the right to access to health for common residents of South Africa is being undermined, and therefore, the nation needs to think about – of course – the difficulties related to IP law, but while emphasizing the violation of human rights. For more visit: https://www.trademarkmaldives.com
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