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South Africa: How the nation became the epicenter for IP protection

 |  January 31, 2014

As conflicts erupt throughout the globe regarding so-called pay-for-delay schemes, in which a pharmaceutical company pays its generic counterpart to delay the sale of the often-cheaper drugs, reports say a new South African law is adding fuel to the discussion.

A new policy proposed in South Africa would reportedly allow the government to duplicate brand name drugs and sell them for lower costs, similar to the way generics are sold.

Such a procedures is already in place in India.

Reports say based on the effects in India, such government action can weaken patent protection on some drugs. In India, for example, Novartis and Bayer have seen weakened regulatory protection of the patent for one of their cancer treatments.

Pharmaceutical giants are now discussing how to resist the new policy, sparking a worldwide debate. According to US consultant to the Innovative Pharmaceutical Association of South Africa, “South Africa is now ground zero for the debate on the value of strong IP protection.” The results of pharmaceutical companies’ fights against the government rules are likely to be felt throughout the globe in major drug markets, like Brazil, say reports.

Full Content: Bloomberg

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