[Date Prev][Date Next][Thread Prev][Thread Next][Date Index][Thread Index]
AFRO-NETS> SADC Ministers decline drug offers announced through the media
- Subject: AFRO-NETS> SADC Ministers decline drug offers announced through the media
- From: AIDS2000 Key Correspondent <email@example.com>
- Date: Tue, 11 Jul 2000 03:40:31 -0400 (EDT)
SADC Ministers decline drug offers announced through the media
Durban, 10 July 2000
SADC Ministers of Health today responded sharply to recent offers by
the pharmaceutical industry to provide free AIDS drugs by spelling
out their requirements for such negotiations to take place.
Speaking at a special news conference at the AIDS2000 Conference in
Durban, six SADC Ministers reported on the decisions the group took
at a closed meeting just before the conference began.
An agreement had previously been made with the pharmaceutical compa-
nies, during the World Health Assembly meeting in May in Geneva. It
stipulated no further announcements would be made without the in-
volvement of the Ministers and the countries they represent.
The joint SADC statement today emphatically conveyed the ten coun-
try's displeasure that some companies have continued to make an-
nouncements on free AIDS drugs or price reductions, without consult-
ing the countries or Ministers beforehand, as had been agreed.
The Minister of Health for South Africa, Dr. Manto Tshabalala-
Msimang, repeated the intention of SADC states to investigate mecha-
nisms to improve drug access through parallel importing, compulsory
licensing and by developing the capacity to manufacture AIDS drugs
in-country. The reaction closely follows the announcement made during
the conference by Boehringer Ingelheim, that they would provide free
nevirapine to prevent mother-to-child transmission of HIV to 'inter-
ested' or committed developing country governments for the next five
years. The group expressed their concern about precisely what is
meant by 'committed' governments. Dr. Johannah-Joy Phumaphi, Minister
of Health on Botswana stressed that although we are at a stage where
nobody should be waiting for others to act, the previous agreement
should be adhered to. It is unfortunate that companies feel they have
to make these kinds of announcements to protect themselves from the
considerable pressure they are under" she said. "But governments are
also under pressure from their populations and the international com-
munity, and talking about commitment alone will not guarantee re-
"Commitment must be reciprocal at worst and universal at best - where
is the political commitment of the West?", she asked. "Compared, for
example, to the liquidation of funds made available for the war in
In their statement, SADC Ministers reaffirmed their intention to sup-
port further negotiations with the pharmaceutical giants, but through
the appropriate channels of the SADC Task Team and UN arbiters. They
also pledged to bring the current discussions about AIDS drugs to the
attention of the SADC Summit of Heads of State or Government next
month in Namibia.
On Sunday, Dr. Thutula Balfour, Director of Health Service Co-
ordinating Unit of South Africa, presented the SADC Regional Strategy
on HIV/AIDS. The overall objectives are to have a SADC society with
reduced HIV epidemic. The aim is a multi-sectoral approach to tack-
ling HIV/AIDS rather than the responsibility being solely with the
Ministries of Health. The sectoral strategic areas to be involved
will be: Culture, Information and Sport, Employment and Labour,
Health, Education and Training, Mining, Tourism, Transport and Commu-
nication and Institutional mechanisms.
SADC Ministers noted that their recent meeting had approved new pro-
jects in collaboration with the European Union and the UK Department
for International Development.
AIDS2000 Key Correspondent
(Coordinated by H&D Networks: http://www.hdnet.org)
Send mail for the `AFRO-NETS' conference to `firstname.lastname@example.org'.
Mail administrative requests to `email@example.com'.
For additional assistance, send mail to: `firstname.lastname@example.org'.