MEDIA INVITE: Thousands march to Fix the Patent Laws!

MEDIA INVITE: PHOTO OPPORTUNITY -- FIX THE PATENT LAWS CAMPAIGN
 
Health activists to demand completion of South Africa's Intellectual Property Policy outside DTI offices, Pretoria and Parliament, Cape Town.
Over 2,500 health activists across the Western Cape and Gauteng will march on the DTI offices in Pretoria and Parliament in Cape Town to demand that South Africa fix its intellectual property laws to improve access to affordable medicines in the country.
 
TUESDAY 11th MARCH - DEPARTMENT OF TRADE & INDUSTRY, PRETORIA
Start location Pretoria Art Museum at 10h00. Rally & Memorandum handover 12h30-13h30.
1,000 health activists including people living with HIV from across Gauteng will march to the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) offices, where they will handover a memorandum demanding the DTI finalises the National Policy on Intellectual Property incorporating legal safeguards to protect public health.
 
THURSDAY 13th MARCH - PARLIAMENT, CAPE TOWN
Start location Keizersgracht by the University of Technology at 10h00. Rally & Memorandum handover 12h00-13h00.
Patients and medical staff will address over 1,600 health and social justice activists from across the Western Cape during a march to Parliament, where they will handover memorandum to the Portfolio Committee of Trade and Industry demanding they hold the DTI accountable to their Constitutional obligation to realise the right to health.
 
BACKGROUND: The patent law reform process has been underway in South Africa for over six years. In September the Department of Trade and Industry released the draft policy for public comment. Both the pharmaceutical industry and civil society were able to submit comments on this draft policy. The DTI must now finalise this policy before sending it to Cabinet.
 
The Fix the Patent Laws campaign – run by the Treatment Action Campaign (TAC), Doctors Without Borders (MSF) and SECTION27 – has been working since 2011 to pressure the South African government to amend its Patents Act to include legal safeguards to increase access to more affordable medicines.
 
FOR MORE INFORMATION & TO ARRANGE INTERVIEWS, CONTACT:
 
Lotti Rutter, Treatment Action Campaign
Lotti.rutter@tac.org.za / 081 818 8493
 
Kate Ribet, Media Liaison Officer, MSF SA
kate.ribet@joburg.msf.org | 079 872 2950
 
Read more about the Fix the Patent Laws campaign: www.fixthepatentlaws.org
Follow live tweets and photos from both marches with @FixPatentLaw on Twitter, using #Pharmagate