Miscellaneous Events Relating to Access to Medicines in South Africa

Recent Developments

AIDS Healthcare Foundation and Network of AIDS Communities of S.A. Lawsuit Against GSK

TAC's Civil Disobedience Campaign

Nelson Mandela calls on President Mbeki to make antiretrovirals available through the public sector.

Anglo American announces plan to provide HIV treatment, including antiretroviral drugs, to its employeees.

This is a British-owned mining company with 160,000 employees in South Africa (of which 21% are estimated to be HIV+). It had previously planned to provide antiretrovirals to its workers, but then renounced the plans, saying it could not afford to carry out its original plan. On July 25, 2002, AngloGold annouced that it had reached a "comprehensive agreement" with its unions on an HIV policy, but the annoucement does not say it will provide antiretrovirals, or even restart its study of the feasibility of doing this.

On August 6, however, the company made the annoucement that it would begin provide HIV treatment, including antiretroviral therapy to its HIV+ workers. It was followed by a similar announcement from De Beers, which hopes to roll out their program in January, 2003. (For more information on an activist campaign to convince multinational corporations to provide treatment - including antiretrovirals - to its employees with HIV/AIDS, see www.treat-your-workers.org. The campaign is a project of HealthGAP and ACT-UP.)

Dispute Over the Possible Declaration of a National Emergency

On March 13, 2001, South African Minister of Health Manto Tshabalala-Msimang said that South Africa will not declare AIDS a national emergency, a move which could accelerate the introduction of lower-priced generic pharmaceutical drugs into the nation. This announcement comes two days after Dr. Ayanda Ntsalubae, the head of the South African Department of Health, told Bobby Jordan of the Sunday Johannesburg Times that the South African was considering such a move.

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