25 heads of state, including South Africa’s President Cyril Ramaphosa, have called for the creation of an international pandemic treaty to strengthen global capacity to predict and respond to pandemic threats. But what should we make of this development, given that existing treaties have often been ignored during the COVID-19 crisis and recent efforts toward a research and development treaty for health products have floundered, asks Catherine Tomlinson.
In 2018, Cabinet adopted a new intellectual property policy for South Africa, but as yet the policy has not led to any change in the country’s patent laws. Amending these laws as soon as possible is critical to both the COVID-19 and HIV response, argues Umunyana Rugege.
As the confirmed number of COVID-19 infections in South Africa climbs toward 20 000, a group of 80 leading academics, teachers and researchers have written to President Cyril Ramaphosa to urge reform of South Africa’s Patents Act. We republish the letter in full.
Unless timely action is taken, South Africa could be faced with a new form of “pharmaceutical apartheid,” like that experienced in the early days of the AIDS response, writes Professor Yousuf Vawda & Professor Brook K. Baker.
Around the turn of the century developing countries fought for and won safeguards to promote access to medicines in international trade law. These safeguards are now being heralded by lawmakers around the world as critical legal mechanisms that nations can and must use in the fight against COVID-19, writes Catherine Tomlinson.