"Zimbabwe and South Africa are facing an HIV/AIDS epidemic of such proportions that the populations of these countries will markedly decline in the next ten years despite the existence of effective drugs to treat the symptoms of AIDS and dramatically lower the communicability of the virus. These drugs are under patent protection by companies in the developed world and the patents raise the prices above the level of affordability for HIV infected persons in South Africa and Zimbabwe. Zimbabwe has declared a national emergency on HIV/AIDS, apparently in conformance with TRIPS and has issued compulsory licenses to a local company that has started to manufacture and sell cheap anti-retroviral drugs. South Africa has not declared a national emergency and has not invoked the TRIPS flexibilities or utilized flexibilities inherent in its own legislation. However, while thousands of people die every week in the two countries, neither government has yet provided an effective HIV/AIDS policy. Extensive litigation and public pressure in South Africa has led the government to announce a policy of supplying free HIV drugs in public hospitals while the Zimbabwean government has announced the provision of the same drugs, also in public hospitals, apparently utilising the state of emergency. The TRIPS agreement under which the two governments undertook to protect international patents allows compulsory licensing under certain circumstances (not limited to a national emergency) and the Doha Declaration on TRIPS and Public Health, and subsequent agreements by the Ministerial Council of the WTO allow the manufacture and, in limited circumstances, the parallel importation of generic drugs. These provisions provide a theoretical mechanism for poor countries to ensure their citizens' rights of access to health (care). The research is aimed at identifying the extent of the effectiveness of the legal norms created by Articles 20 and 31 of TRIPS, the Doha Declaration and subsequent Council of Ministers' decisions, which together ostensibly provide a framework to allow provision of generic drugs. It is further aimed at investigating how the state of emergency in Zimbabwe has been utilised to provide cheap generic drugs to Zimbabweans and whether this would be an option for South Africa. A comparison of the legal provisions governing the provision of drugs in the two countries will also be undertaken to examine the extent to which international and national constitutional and legal provisions may be utilised to give effect to the right to health." -- Introduction.
Thesis (LLM (Human Rights and Democratisation in Africa)) -- University of Pretoria, 2004.
Prepared under the supervision of Dr. Enid Hill at the American University in Cairo.