The Impact of International Legal Rules in Facilitating the Public’s Access to Medicines in South Africa

Hobololo, Vuyisile (May 2017). The Impact of International Legal Rules in Facilitating the Public’s Access to Medicines in South Africa (SECO Working Paper Series 7/2017). World Trade Institute, University of Bern: SECO, World Trade Institute

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This paper explores the role played by international legal treaties, conventions and agreements that are binding on South Africa, in promoting the public’s access to medicines. In greater detail the impact that the Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS) of 1994, the Convention on Biological Diversity of 1992, and the United States of America’s Bahy-Dole Act of 1980 have had in the development of South Africa intellectual property (IP) law is examined. In addition, a question regarding whether such international legal instruments have positively impacted the public’s access to medicines is considered. The paper concludes that compliance with international IP law rules is not a silver bullet that will solve South Africa’s challenges relating to access to medicines. The protection of the public’s right to access to medicines in South Africa is strongly dependent on the government’s political will of ensuring that IP law is implemented to serve public good and public and private pharmaceutical patent holders are held accountable regarding the socially-responsible utilization of their IP.

Item Type:

Working Paper


02 Faculty of Law > Department of Economic Law > World Trade Institute
10 Strategic Research Centers > World Trade Institute


300 Social sciences, sociology & anthropology > 340 Law


SECO Working Paper Series


SECO, World Trade Institute


[UNSPECIFIED] Swiss State Secretariat for Economic Affairs


[UNSPECIFIED] SECO/WTI Academic Cooperation Project




Pablo Rahul Das

Date Deposited:

05 May 2017 11:29

Last Modified:

20 Feb 2020 08:51

Additional Information:

SECO/WTI Academic Cooperation Project, based at the World Trade Institute of the University of Bern, Switzerland.




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