+ Access to medicines

1,000 HIV activists take to JHB streets for US$2 billion needed to save millions of lives

US, UK & Australia have to maintain Global Fund support to avert crisis

JOHANNESBURG, 22 March – Today over 1,000 southern African activists from a coalition of organisations take to the streets of Johannesburg in a march to demand key international donors lead an urgent response to plug a US$2 billion treatment funding gap, so that countries across Africa can scale up their HIV, tuberculosis (TB) and malaria programmes and avert countless unnecessary deaths.

NOTE EDITORS
– New science presented in 2011 (HPTN 052 study) shows that ART not only save lives, but also prevents new HIV infections. Putting people on treatment earlier therefore reduces their chances of infecting others by up to 96%. This heads off not only the spread of the HIV epidemic, but also a looming resurgence in TB and drug-resistant TB.
– Up to 70% of TB patients in southern Africa are also infected with HIV.

FOR MORE INFORMATION, OR TO ARRANGE INTERVIEWS CONTACT:
Kate Ribet, Communications Officer, MSF SA
kate.ribet@joburg.msf.org | +27 79 872 2950 | www.msf.org.za

Borrie la Grange, Head of Communications, MSF SA
borrie.lagrange@joburg.msf.org | +27 83 287 5294 | www.msf.org.za

TAC and SECTION27 release the first issue of our magazine: NSP Review

On World AIDS Day 2011 TAC and SECTION27 launched the first issue of their joint publication, the NSP Review. In this, and in future issues, we aim to provide quality analysis and monitoring of the implementation of the new NSP. It is our hope that this publication will increase awareness of, and critical engagement with the NSP. We will try to keep it relevant with evidence from new research and feedback from the various district offices of the Treatment Action Campaign as well as organisations with which we work closely. Our vision is a vibrant, evidence-based publication that will help all stake holders drive a more successful response to HIV, STIs and TB.

We encourage you to get in touch with us should you want to contribute to future editions of NSP Review.

You can e-mail the editor at nsp@tac.org.za nsp@tac/org.za.

Open letter to HIVEX limited from SECTION27 and the Treatment Action Campaign

Today, World Aids Day 2011, the Treatment Action Campaign (TAC) and SECTION27 submit this open letter and make the following demands to HIVEX Limited (HIVEX). Despite the lack of any scientific evidence that HIVEX treatment is an effective treatment for HIV, HIVEX continues to promote and provide it for this purpose.

It is unlawful and deeply unethical to advertise that HIVEX is an effective treatment for HIV in the absence of such evidence. Antiretroviral treatment remains the only treatment that is scientifically proven to be effective against HIV.

High Court rules in favour of the Medicines Control Council


On 15 November 2011 the North Gauteng High Court in Pretoria ruled in favour of the Medicines Control Council (MCC) and others in a matter concerning Adcock Ingram’s resistance to the MCC’s decision to cancel the registration of drugs containing dextropropoxyphene (DPP). The MCC made the decision in April 2011 after coming to the conclusion that the drugs pose a danger to the public. Previously the state attorney, purporting to act on behalf of the MCC and others, entered into a settlement with Adcock Ingram that allowed the company to continue selling the drugs. This settlement was made an order of court. On 15 November 2011 the court set aside the settlement.

The case is important because it has resulted in the removal of products from the market that the MCC and other stringent drug regulatory authorities have deemed unsafe. Importantly, it reaffirms the MCC’s statutory and constitutional duties to protect public health by ensuring that medicines are safe and basing its decisions on the available evidence. The judgment rightly places the health and safety of the public over profits of the pharmaceutical company. company.

Organisations representing patients call for a minimum service level agreement (MSLA) or alternative mechanism to protect access to essential health care services

In 2007, 2009 and 2010 strikes took place in the public health sector which resulted in a serious disruption of health care services. Many users of the public health system were not able to access vital services or collect their medication. Earlier this year SECTION27 was approached by a number of concerned organisations, including Rural Doctors Association of South Africa (RuDASA) and the Rural Health Advocacy Project (RHAP) to assist in finding a resolution which recognises the right to strike and also protects patients’ rights and prevents loss of life or serious harm being suffered by patients during a strike.