PATIENTS are being denied life-saving medicines because SA’s patent regime allows multinational drug companies readily to block cheaper generic rivals and stifle competition, according to a report from health activists lobbying the government for legal reform.The Fix the Patent Laws Campaign says SA’s legal framework for patents makes it too easy for pharmaceutical companies to extend their monopoly period on drugs, sometimes for years after it has expired elsewhere in the world.The coalition has 32 organisations including Doctors without Borders (MSF), the Treatment Action Campaign and patient advocacy groups for epilepsy, cancer and mental health."Companies commonly apply for multiple patents on individual medicines over time — a tactic known as ever-greening."Due to shortcomings in SA’s laws — namely the lack of examination for patent applications — ever-greening occurs frequently," according to the report.It says patients — both rich and poor — are denied vital medicines because...

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