Late last year, South African activist Tobeka Daki died of breast cancer because she could not afford to stay alive.
A course of trastuzumab, the drug that would have saved Tobeka's life, costs Roche $176 to produce. South African patients are charged $34,000 per course - five times more than Tobeka's annual salary.
South Africa's medical patent laws protect drug companies like Roche from competition by banning import or production of cheaper generics, allowing patent holders to charge exorbitant prices for lifesaving drugs. Hundreds of South Africans die each year as a direct result of this price gouging.
It's time the South African government stopped protecting Big Pharma and started protecting their citizens. Tell the South African government to save lives and reform the drug patent laws now.
The 2001 Doha Declaration on Public Health allows developing countries to import or produce drugs without the permission of patent-holding companies. HIV/AIDS activists succeeded in getting South Africa to drop exclusive patents for anti-retroviral drugs, but the anti-competitive laws remained in force for other drugs.
Finally, in 2009, the South Africa Department of Trade and Industry agreed to investigate additional reforms to the drug patent system. There have been many delays and deferrals, but a revised policy is scheduled to be completed in March 2017.
In the past year, thousands of SumOfUs members put drug companies on notice to stop profiteering from life-saving medicines. Now it's time to hold government watchdogs accountable too. It's too late to save Tobeka Daki, but we can help hundreds of others get the medicine they need by fighting these anti-competitive laws.
Tell the South African Department of Trade and Industry to stop stalling and reform the drug patent laws now.