Patents, Access to COVID-19 Vaccines and Medicines, and Traditional Medicine: A Dilemma for African Countries

Patents, Access to COVID-19 Vaccines and Medicines, and Traditional Medicine: A Dilemma for African Countries

Author by Dr. Cheluchi Onyemelukwe

Journal/Publisher: European Intellectual Property Review Sweet And Maxwell

Volume/Edition: 42

Language: English

Pages: 569 - 580

Abstract

The COVID-19 pandemic has created global tension, spreading like wildfire, ravaging public health systems and constantly taking lives of those that become its victim. Africa is not spared by this pandemic, though initially it appeared not to be a disease for the black race owing to the terrain. The situation has since changed and causalities are on the increase. Consequently, there is a rat race for a cure, medicine, vaccines and whatever can battle effectively COVID-19. The reward for the race has always been incentives based on patent protection, which grants a monopoly, thereby restricting access to medicines in poor countries, mostly in Africa. Even if patent rights are waived or compulsory licences granted, Africa is still faced with the dilemma of lacking the required technology to produce medicine or vaccines. Conversely, traditional medicine and the resources for it are abundant in Africa. Some countries are considering it alongside scientific methods. Could traditional medicine be the light at the end of the tunnel for Africa regarding COV/D-19? The issues of patents and the development of medicine, vaccines and traditional medicine faced by Africa in the COV/D-19 era are explored in this article.


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