SECTION27 is a public interest law centre that seeks to influence, develop and use the law to protect, promote and advance human rights. Our name is drawn from the section in the South African Constitution which enshrines everyone's right to health care, food, water and social security.
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.
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.
On 25 October 2011 the Minister of Finance, Pravin Gordhan, tabled the Medium Term Budget Policy Statement (MTBPS) at a sitting of the National Assembly. The MTBPS broadly outlines Government’s proposed spending plans for the next three years. It also provides an opportunity for Government to make adjustments to this year’s budget to cater for changes in expenditure and provide for unanticipated expenses.
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.
Yesterday, SECTION27 responded to the “Draft Regulations Relating to the Categorisation of Hospitals” issued by the Minister of Health on 12 August 2011. The regulations aim to comprehensively categorise hospitals; if drafted properly they will improve health care service provision, offer important guidelines to health care providers and enable civil society to hold hospitals and government accountable.
Unfortunately, shortcomings in the draft regulations render them incapable of fulfilling this potential without significant revision.
The submission, sent to the Director-General of Health on 11 October 2011, identifies numerous shortcomings in the draft regulations.