South Africa's minister of health Aaron Motsoaledi blasted pharmaceutical companies who he says are trying to hamper efforts to reform patent laws and in the process hatching a conspiracy of "satanic magnitude."
The minister wasn't mincing his words, and said the efforts by the Innovative Pharmaceutical Industry Association South Africa to stop patent reforms amounted to "genocide."
IPASA is an umbrella group of pharmaceutical companies heading a campaign against reforms that would pave the way for patents to expire, allowing generic versions of drugs to come to market.
South Africa's current laws allow companies to renew patents by making only a small change to the composition of medicines. Motsoaledi's outburst came after a document was released outlining how the group planned to prevent the reform process.
IPASA was quick to release a statement distancing itself from the leaked document, and said it had not hired Washington, D.C.-based, lobbying firm Public Affairs Engagement to lobby for it. The document in question was a proposal put out by the lobbying firm to affect opinion about these changes.
IPASA maintains this document was reviewed and rejected.
“I can confirm that in fact there is no campaign. We have received proposal from that organization but we have not accepted and approved [the proposal] at this point. We have not reached that decision and have not decided to go in that direction. The campaign is off,” says Val Beaumont, IPASA's executive director.