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.
On the 8th of June 2011 the Kwazulu-Natal High Court handed down judgment in the case of Langalakhe Ncengokwakhe Njoko v Minister of Safety and Security. In the judgment the court accepted evidence of Professor Francois Venter, President of the HIV/AIDS Clinicians Society, on the life expectancy of people living with HIV who are on anti-retroviral treatment.
The Treatment Action Campaign (TAC), SECTION27 and Médecins Sans Frontières / Doctors Without Borders (MSF) South Africa voice support for their partners across the world opposing provisions in a proposed free trade agreement (FTA) between India and the European Union (EU) that threaten the sustainable supply of affordable medicines to millions of people in the developing world.
The Department of Health has given the go-ahead for patients on antiretroviral treatment (ART) to be given three months supply of medicines instead of one month. The TAC and SECTION27 welcome this decision. It will be more convenient for patients because they will have to make fewer trips to their health facility. It will also reduce patient-load on the health system, particularly on health facility pharmacies given the shortage of pharmacists in the public health system. In a memorandum dated 2 July 2010, the Department of Health states, “There is no indication of any legislation prohibiting the supply of medicines for three months to any one patient. This practice should only be implemented once the patient has proved stable on the regimen.”
Letter to the High Commissioner for India to South Africa: Our concerns regarding Indian trade negotiations with EU.
This letter explains that the prospect of making new ARVs available in South Africa at affordable prices is under threat because of events unfolding in India. In particular, pressure is being applied by the European Union on the Indian government to sign a bilateral trade agreement that will stifle competition on essential medicines still under patent.
On 17 June 2010, about 2,000 people representing 16 organisations marched to the United States (US) consulate in Sandton, Johannesburg, to demand that the US leads the way in funding universal access to antiretroviral treatment.