Judge Edwin Cameron delivered the British Academy Inaugural Law Lecturein the Playfair Library Hall on the 19th October. In his lecture”Patents and Public Health: Principles, Politics and Paradox”, JudgeCameron talked about his own experience of living in South Africa as anAIDS sufferer and the difficulties posed by intellectual property protection offered under the current patent system in making medicines available to those in poorer countries. Some six million people sufferfrom HIV or AIDS in South Africa creating a moral obligation for those in more affluent Western nations to seek alternatives to a restrictive regime, particularly in light of the investment from public funding forthe development of pharmaceutical drugs. In a paper, co-written with Jonathan Berger of the AIDS Law Project at the University of Witwatersrand, to be published by the British Academy, Judge Cameron proposed that solutions might lie through a tax on medicines in thedeveloped world, or a levy based system on generic drugs. The lecturewas co-hosted by the AHRB Research Centre in Intellectual Property andTechnology Law and pre-empts a major international conference examining the themes of intellectual property, competition and human rights to be held in December this year.


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