Joint press statement -FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Health activists to engage government for review of the Anti-Counterfeit Act
NAIROBI, Kenya, 25th September 2013
Health rights activists will today, 25 September 2013, submit proposals to the Anti-Counterfeit Agency in a meeting that will take place at Utali Hotel starting from 9:00am in an effort to ensurepeople living and affected by HIV, TB and Malaria have access to generic medicines. The proposals are in line with the minimum requirements of the World Trade Organization Trade Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPs) Agreement, and in compliance with the judgment of Justice Mumbi in the landmark case number of 409 of 2010, of ‘Patricia Asero Ochieng and two others vs The Attorney General (2012).
As generic medicines continue to play an important role in lowering prices and improving access to treatment, recent laws and policies on anti-counterfeiting in Kenya (Anti-Counterfeit Act 2008) and regionally, at the East African Community Anti-Counterfeit Bill (2010) threaten access to more affordable generic medicines, especially by people living with and affected by HIV, TB and Malaria. The ambiguity in definitions of ‘generic’ versus ‘counterfeit’ medicines confuses and threatens access to more affordable medicines. The definition of counterfeiting under the Kenya Anti-Counterfeit Act for instance goes beyond what is legally required under the World Trade Organization Trade Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPs), which Kenya has already domesticated into law. The fundamental right to life, human dignity and health are also protected by Articles 26(1), 28 and 43(1)a of the Constitution of Kenya 2010, and encompass access to affordable and essential medicines.
“It is incumbent on the state to reconsider the provisions of section 2 of the Anti-Counterfeit Act alongside its constitutional obligation to ensure that its citizens have access to the highest attainable standard of health and make appropriate amendments to ensure that the rights of petitioners and others dependent on generic medicines are not put in jeopardy,” declared Justice Mumbi while passing the judgment.
Even though a conservatory order issued by the Kenya High Court in April 2010 is in place preventing the implementation of the Kenya Anti-Counterfeit Act in any manner that could affect access to more affordable generic medicines, the law must be amended to safeguard access to medicines which is a component of the right to health guaranteed under Article 43(1) (a) of the constitution of Kenya 2010. Such amendment must take into account the requirements of the TRIPs Agreement, Doha Declaration on TRIPS and Public Health and international best practices.
AIDS Law Project, ITPC East Africa, KANCO, KELIN, NEPHAK,WOFAK and other health Civil Society Organizations will engage the Anti-counterfeit Agency on their submissions during this meeting, to seek beneficial amendments to the Act in compliance with the judgment by Justice Mumbi and ensure that the intent of the TRIPS agreement are not undermined under national or regional legislations. It is expected that interested parties will be represented to ensure their interests and profits are protected through strict implementation of their intellectual property rights while ensuring public health interests.
CONTACT: Melba Katindi TEL: +254729320189 EMAIL: firstname.lastname@example.org
Terry Rotich TEL: +254725488820 EMAIL: email@example.com
Rose Kaberia TEL: +254703411077 EMAIL: firstname.lastname@example.org
Grace Anono TEL: +254721975170 EMAIL: email@example.com
Rose Edith Atieno TEL: +254733226689 EMAIL: firstname.lastname@example.org
Margaret Macharia TEL : +254721599178 EMAIL: email@example.com
Date: 25th September 2013
Time: 8.30 – 4.00 PM
Place: Utalii Hotel, Nairobi