March 8, 2001
Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) has called for 39 pharmaceutical companies to immediately and unconditionally drop their legal challenge to a South African law aimed at improving access to medicine. The case opened March 5 before the High Court in Pretoria.
For more than three years, the pharmaceutical industry has blocked the implementation of a law (the Medicines and Related Substances Control Amendment Act, Act 90 of 1997) the South African government passed to make medicine more affordable to patients.
The South African government inherited a system of high medical prices from the apartheid regime and is now trying to cope with the burden of providing care for over four million people with HIV, more than any other country in the world. It is trying to address these challenges by allowing the Minister of Health to better respond to health crises by using measures such as parallel importation and generic substitution.
MSF has further called on the governments of developed countries to speak out against these attempts to hinder South Africa's effort to make medicines affordable for its citizens. In particular, MSF is calling on the European Commission and the U.S. Government to issue statements supporting South Africa's right to use WTO-legal measures to improve access to medicine.
© 2013 Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF)