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WESTERN DRUG COMPANIES AND THE AIDS EPIDEMIC IN SOUTH AFRICA | | | | | | | |

INTRODUCTION
The AIDS epidemic in South Africa is at an extreme where 4.2 million of the country’s 43 million citizens are afflicted. This translates into one in every ten citizens being infected with the virus. Additionally 34 million Sub Saharan African citizens have been afflicted and 11.5 million have died and that total accounts for 83% of the world’s AIDS related deaths.
Treatment is available in the form of an anti-retroviral, but it is very costly and as such unaffordable for the already impoverished nations in Africa. The AIDS crisis and the expensive treatment have caused the government of South Africa to pass laws authorising the practice of parallel importing and compulsory licensing. Parallel importing allows importers to purchase the medication from the cheapest source whether or not the patent holders gave approval and compulsory licensing allows the government to license local companies to produce cheaper versions of the drug patented by foreign companies with or without their consent.
The passing of the law by the South African government caused a legal dispute with the US drug companies regarding intellectual property rights, compulsory licensing and parallel importing. The dispute caused a debate among public health officials, activists, law makers and the drug companies over the importance of public health versus corporate profits and the bad public relations caused the drug companies to drop the law suit added to which they lowered the price of the medication for the African countries and the government was allowed to engage in parallel importing and compulsory licensing..

QUESTION #1
A patent is a property right granted by the Government to an inventor “to exclude others from making, using, offering for sale, or selling the invention…...

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