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'SA patent policy campaign complex'

The health minister says a campaign against SA’s draft patent policy will restrict access to crucial drugs.

Health Minister Aaron Motsoaledi says a campaign against SA’s draft patent policy will restrict access to crucial drugs. Picture: GCIS/SAPA.

CAPE TOWN - A pharmaceutical company campaign against South Africa's draft patent policy could have far reaching consequences for developing countries.

Health Minister Aaron Motsoaledi says the campaign will restrict access to crucial drugs.

Multinational drug companies with local operations are against the Department of Trade and Industry's intellectual property framework, including patents over life-saving drugs.

Several weeks ago, the Innovative Pharmaceutical Association of South Africa (Ipasa) selected a Washington based lobbying firm to lead the charge against the policy.

Motsoaledi says intellectual property laws need to strengthen.

"Most of us in the developing world depend on generics from India. We want to be in line with that. We want to put intellectual property laws such a way that there's a very strong public health element, rather than just profits."