The Affordable Medicines and Treatment Campaign (AMTC) was launched in 2001 with an aim of creating a legal and policy environment that ensures sustained accessibility and affordability of essential, life-saving medicines from a rights-based perspective. Confronted with the reality of people dying due to lack of access to essential medicines to treat HIV, HCV and TB and in response to the communities’ needs, the Lawyers Collective has successfully devised and implemented legal and advocacy strategies to eliminate intellectual property (IP) barriers and increase generic competition to make medicines affordable. To improve treatment access we provide legal advice and aid to patients’ groups on opposing patents, file public interest litigations to promote access to medicines and challenge through advocacy initiatives harmful legal and policy developments that negatively impact the right to health and treatment.
A patent confers a monopoly of 20 years on the patent holder. The provision to file an opposition against the grant of a patent is one of the key public health safeguards provided under the Patents Act, 1970. Lawyers Collective working with several patient groups has utilised this health safeguard to oppose frivolous patents against life saving drugs related to HIV, Hepatitis-C and cancer. These oppositions may be accessed below.