Research Paper 56. South Centre.
LINK TO FULL PAPER on SOUTHCENTRE.INT
Executive Summary: Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) suffers from numerous communicable and non-communicable diseases, with significant socio-economic effects, and adversely impacting the development prospects of countries in sub-Saharan Africa. Many of these diseases are treatable but access to affordable medicines remains a huge challenge in the region. A particular obstacle to access to medicines is the high, prohibitive costs of medicines enabled by the existence of patents. Patents grant the right holder a monopoly on the patented pharmaceutical for at least 20 years from the date of filing of the patent application, thereby curtailing competition by giving the patent holder freedom to set prices, which in many instances is simply unaffordable to persons who need the medicines.