Home > News > Public Health Updated 17 January 2014 Dr Motsoaledi calls big pharma 'genocidal' A war is brewing between SA pharmaceutical companies and Dr Aaron Motsoaledi on the issue of drug patents. 1 Shutterstock Related SA tackles drugs patent reform Motsoaledi: Foreign drug firm plan is genocide Private health care must become cheaper A war is brewing between SA pharmaceutical companies and Dr Aaron Motsoaledi on the issue of drug patents. At stake are intellectual property rights on patented drugs vs. affordable access to life-saving healthcare for the poor.The SA Minister of Health was quoted in the Mail & Guardian calling the planned campaign by drug companies against proposed changes to the patent laws ‘a genocide’. He also described it as conspiracy of 'satanic magnitude’ and called on South Africans to fight it 'to the last drop of their blood’.In September last year the department of trade and industry published a draft framework for a new policy on intellectual property (IP). This included patents on life-saving drugs, which Motsoaledi says are crucial to save the lives of many seriously ill South Africans.In response to this, a document was reportedly drawn up by lobby group Public Affairs Engagement on behalf of a number of multinational drug companies operating in South Africa, represented by the Innovative Pharmaceutical Association of SA (Ipsa). Read the full document here.According to the Mail & Guardian, the section of the draft policy pertaining to health aimed to weaken protection for drug patents, which would drive down prices for a range of medications, including antiretrovirals and tuberculosis treatment.The proposals in the draft framework are supported by NGOs working in the field of health, such as Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) and the Treatment Action Campaign (TAC).The issues at stake are emotive ones: intellectual property (IP) rights on patented drugs vs. affordable access to life-saving healthcare for people of limited means. In other words putting corporate profits before the health and well-being of the poor.Motsoaledi also expressed concern that if the draft policy were to become law, it would affect not only South Africans, but also millions of people in other developing countries around Africa, as well as the rest of the world.Public Affairs Engagement’s plan intended to send the message that the policy could threaten investment and have negative economic and social consequences.(Sapa. Susan Erasmus) Sapa, Susan Erasmus More in News Friday as safe as any other day for surgery More: NewsPublic Health advertisement Read Health24’s Comments Policy Comment on this story 1 comment Comments have been closed for this article. Logout Comment 0 characters remaining Share on Facebook Loading comments... Other news Sex US STIs hit all-time high in 2015 Medical Human right-handedness might go back almost 2 million years Mental health Troubled childhood may boost bipolar risk Diet and nutrition Our genes may soon advise our food and lifestyle choices Lifestyle Which skin products are better, ‘medical grade’ or ‘over-the-counter’? Medical Don't believe these asthma myths From our sponsors Keep an eye on your vision Which skin products are better, ‘medical grade’ or ‘over-the-counter’? Win 1 of 6 R5000 cash prizes Win Skin Renewal voucher Live healthier Exercise benefits for seniors » Working out in the concrete jungle Even a little exercise may help prevent dementia Here’s an unexpected way to boost your memory: running Seniors who exercise recover more quickly from injury or illness When sedentary older adults got into an exercise routine, it curbed their risk of suffering a disabling injury or illness and helped them recover if anything did happen to them. No relief for MS » Drug shows promise against MS in mouse study Vitamin D may slow multiple sclerosis Obesity in girls tied to higher MS risk Exercise may not lower women's risk of MS A Harvard study showed no evidence to support the idea that exercise lowers the risk of multiple sclerosis.