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.
The Treatment Action Campaign (TAC) and the AIDS Law Project (ALP) recognise the need for, and strongly support, legislative reform to ensure that the Medicines Control Council (MCC) is able effectively and efficiently to regulate medicines and other health products. This, we are told, is the ostensible purpose of the draft Medicines and Related Substances Amendment Bill, 2008 (“the draft Bill”)1.
The National Health Amendment Bill (the Bill) was simultaneously published with the Medicines Amendment Bill on 18 April 2008. Both Bills are some of the most important pieces of health legislation to be proposed in recent years. The Medicines Amendment Bill is the subject of a separate submission that accompanies this one.
The Treatment Action Campaign (TAC) and the AIDS Law Project (ALP) welcome this opportunity to make a submission to the Panel for the Independent Assessment of Parliament. The TAC and ALP are civil society organizations dedicated to upholding the rights of people to have access to health care services, to ensuring that the state discharges its positive constitutional obligations in respect of that right, and to ensuring a comprehensive response to HIV/AIDS both domestically and internationally.
The AIDS Law Project (ALP) and the Treatment Action Campaign (TAC) focus much of their work on ensuring that full and meaningful effect is given to the Bill of Rights recognition that “[e]veryone has the right to have access to … health care services” and that the “state must take reasonable legislative and other measures, within its available resources, to achieve the progressive realization” of this right.
On Wednesday, 4th April 2007 the Constitutional Court handed down judgment on the case of NM & Others v Charlene Smith, Patricia De Lille, and New Africa Books. The case concerned the publication of the applicants’ full names and HIV status in the biography of Patricia De Lille, authored by Charlene Smith and published by New Africa Books, without their consent.