n African Human Rights Law Journal - A comparative study of the implementation in Zimbabwe and South Africa of the international law rules that allow compulsory licensing and parallel importation for HIV / AIDS drugs

Volume 5, Issue 1
  • ISSN : 1609-073X
  • E-ISSN: 1996-2096



The HIV / AIDS pandemic poses a great threat to the livelihood of people living in sub-Saharan Africa. Within Southern Africa, Zimbabwe and South Africa are some of the countries worst hit by the pandemic. While the HIV / AIDS pandemic ravages these two countries, there are in existence drugs that can treat the symptoms of HIV / AIDS and also lower the communicability of the virus. The availability of these drugs in the two countries, however, is problematic particularly because of the international patents law regime. The result is that the drugs are very expensive when imported into the countries and therefore unavailable to the people that need them the most. The present article discusses how Zimbabwe and South Africa can effectively guarantee the availability of cheap anti-retroviral drugs to their populations by utilising the flexibilities in the TRIPS agreement to allow compulsory licensing and parallel importation of cheap anti-retroviral drugs. The article also examines the legal framework in the two countries to determine how they may best be utilised to secure the right to health in the present dispensation. The paper posits that the governments in these two countries can further the citizenry's right to health in the by fully utilising the flexibilities of the TRIPS agreements to facilitate the availability of cheap anti-retroviral drugs.

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