Justice Mumbi Ngugi of the Kenyan High Court has ruled that sections 2, 32, and 34 of the Kenya Anti Counterfeit Act 2008 “violate the complainant’s right to life and health as it severely limits access to drugs.”
Three petitioners – Patricia Asero, Maureen Murenga and Joseph Munyi – had challenged the law, charging that its overly broad definition of what constitutes a counterfeit product would limit access to generic medicines. This would violate the Kenyan Constitutional protection of the right to life, (Article 26 of the Constitution).
With this ruling, legislators will need to amend the law to clear up the ambiguity before it can take effect.
Upon hearing the ruling, Patricia Asero said that “The court has correctly interpreted the Constitution and guaranteed the right to health. This ruling speaks against any ambiguity that serves to undermine access to generic medicines and puts the lives of people before profit.”
Statements and Analysis:
- Sisule Musungu, IQ Sensato Ideas in Development Blog. “Sections of the Kenya Anti Counterfeiting Act Struck Down as a Threat to Fundamental Human Rights.”
- Médecins Sans Frontières, Health Action International Africa, and the Kenya Legal & Ethical Issues Network on HIV and AIDS. Joint Statement on the Kenya Anti-Counterfeit Act 2008 Decision.
- Reuters. “Kenyan court ruling upholds access to generic drugs.”
- Rob Jillo for Capital FM News. “Kenyans to Get Cheaper HIV Drugs.”