Drug companies’ patent plot ‘genocide’ – Motsoaledi

2014-01-17 10:15

Health Minister Aaron Motsoaledi says a planned campaign by multinational pharmaceutical companies against proposed South African patent laws is “genocide”.

“This document can sentence many South Africans to death,” he said, the Mail & Guardian reported today.

“That is no exaggeration. This is a plan for genocide.”

The document was reportedly drawn up by lobby group Public Affairs Engagement on behalf of a number of multinational drug companies operating in South Africa, represented by the Innovative Pharmaceutical Association of SA (Ipsa).

It was said to outline a plan to fight the draft legislation in a document seen by the Mail & Guardian.

According to the newspaper, the section of the draft policy pertaining to health aimed to weaken protection for drug patents, which would drive down prices for a range of medications, including antiretrovirals and tuberculosis treatment.

The Mail & Guardian reported that Public Affairs Engagement’s response sought to direct the nature of public discourse around the policy through a massive public relations exercise directed from outside the country.

Public Affairs Engagement’s plan intended to send the message that the policy could threaten investment and have negative economic and social consequences.

Ipsa reportedly told the newspaper that it would encourage open debate on the proposed legislation.

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