Access to ART and Other Essential Medicines in Sub-Saharan Africa

Efforts to lower the price of antiretroviral medicines for AIDS treatment—and hence improve availability and accessibility—have focused on removing barriers caused by patent protection of pharmaceutical products and processes through using flexibilities in intellectual property agreements. However, a combination of technical and political factors has made it difficult for developing countries, including Sub-Saharan African countries, to utilize these flexibilities.

Based on a review of the national legislations of 39 out of the 47 Sub-Saharan African countries, this report finds that though most of the countries provide patents for pharmaceutical products, the level of incorporation of the flexibilities in national legislation is very low.