BRIC-a-BRAC January 20, 2014: News Items from BRIC Countries
1. In a follow up to Friday’s BRIC-a-BRAC post, South Africa has slammed the global pharmaceutical companies involved in the so-called campaign to delay the proposed changes to its patent laws accusing them of a “satanic” plot to commit “genocide”. Specifically, Minister of Health Aaron Motsoaledi stated that the campaign was aimed at turning South Africans against the government. “It’s a conspiracy of satanic magnitude,” he said. “This document can sentence many South Africans to death. This is a plan for genocide.”
The new patent law will prevent “ever-greening” (which allows for patent protection for minor changes to an existing drug or for the discovery of a new use for an existing drug) and is expected to reduce prices and facilitate the growth of South Africa’s struggling generic drug industry (which is now dominated by Aspen Pharmacare and Adcock Ingram).
As mentioned in Friday’s post, the trade organization, Innovative Pharmaceutical Industry Association South Africa (IPASA), was coordinating the campaign. Some members of IPASA include Sanofi, Baxter, Novartis and Pfizer. A document prepared for IPASA by the U.S. consulting firm Public Affairs Engagement outlines the plan to delay the patent reforms until at least after South Africa’s elections in early May by suggesting that the new law would be “politically damaging”. The document also states that “The world cares that South Africa is proposing to take a wrong turn in economic policy by weakening IP protections. And by cares, we mean both expresses compassionate concern and will take action by reducing investment.” This last sentence has many wondering whether global pharmaceutical companies will reduce their investment if and when the proposed patent reforms are enacted. Time will tell. To learn more, click here.
2. It is nice to see more and more conferences being offered on US and global biosimilar protection. On Thursday and Friday of this week, I will be attending Momentum’s “The IP Counsel Exchange for Biosimilar Applicants and Innovator Biologic Sponsors” at the W Union Square in New York (Conference agenda is posted here132W14-NYC_Biosimilar_122013_v10).