Parliament - South Africa's new policy to guide law reform on intellectual property rights will significantly improve access to medicines for sick South Africans, Health Minister Aaron Motsoaledi said on Thursday.
Motsoaledi and his counterpart in trade and industry, Rob Davies, briefed journalists on the Intellectual Property Policy which was recently adopted by Cabinet.
The aim of the policy is to balance private rights with rights in South Africa's Constitution. Phase one of the policy will focus on the healthcare sector.
The policy gives effect to the 2001 Doha Declaration on the TRIPS (Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights) which gives member states flexibility to bypass patents rights and ensure access to crucial, life-saving medicines.
Motsoaledi said it is hoped that the policy will lead to cheaper drugs for the public and private healthcare sector in South Africa.