Pharmaceutical security in South Africa: law and medical geopolitics
The study focuses on the political and economic geographies of pharmaceutical delivery. In 1997 the South African government passed the Medicines and Related Substances Control Amendment Act, sparking outrage from both the local and international pharmaceutical industry, and resulting in court action in 2001. The industry believed that South Africa was in breach of its obligations under international intellectual property law. Those fighting for pharmaceutical security hoped the court case would be a 'landmark' in the global campaign for equitable access to medicines. This investigation seeks to analyse the domestic and international legacy of the court action. The inquiry takes its significance from the high prevalence rates of treatable diseases and the need for pharmaceutical security in South Africa and its neighbouring African countries. The absence of a sustainable international medicines delivery system is a global political, economic and moral failure. A solution is required that balances the positive productive forces of the market with a philosophy of justice and equity.