South Africa: Support Importation Of Generic Fluconazole

World Watch Africa South Africa
Support Importation Of Generic Fluconazole

Action Alert: December 2000

We are forwarding a request from the Treatment Action Campaign (TAC) in South Africa to send letters of support to Dr Helen Rees, Chairperson of the South African Medicines Control Council on the approval of a conditional exemption for the importation of generic lower-priced fluconazole.

Attached is a sample letter as well as a letter of support from the Australian Federation of AIDS Organisations.

If you have any questions or comments, please refer them directly to the Treatment Action Campaign at info@tac.org.za

You can find background information about TAC at http://www.tac.org.za/

Thanks,

IGLHRC

FORWARDED ACTION: URGENT: LETTERS OF CONGRATULATION TO DR. HELEN REES AND THE MCC

The South African Medicines Countrol Council (FDA equivalent) granted Brooklyn Medical Centre/TAC a conditional exemption (section 21) for the importation of generic fluconazole. They also agreed that they will not enforce patents and would be willing to register any generic medicine including patented medicines. They stated unequivocally that their job is the enforcement of safety, efficacy and quality of medicines in the public interest - not the enforcement of patent laws.

No doubt, the pharmaceutical industry and its allies in government will try to bring pressure to bear on the MCC for its courageous stand. Official and unofficial pressure is already being placed on Dr. Steve Andrews of Brooklyn Medical Centre by the authorities. He is quite firm in his support. We need to back it up with letters.

TAC requests that organisations and individuals locally and abroad fax a letter to Dr. Helen Rees (Chairperson) at the Medicines Control Council to congratulate them on their action.

A sample letter is included below -please modify appropriately. Thanx to the Australian Federation of AIDS Organisations for a great letter attached.

Please forward your letters to Dr. Rees to us. Please forward them electronically to info@tac.org.za

SAMPLE LETTER

Dr. Helen Rees
Chairperson: Medicines Control Council
Private Bag X828
Pretoria
South Africa

Fax: + 27 (0)12 323 4474

Dear Dr. Rees

REGISTRATION OF GENERIC MEDICINES FOR HIV/AIDS

The Medicines Control Council's decision to grant a section 21 exemption to the Brooklyn Medical Centre for the use of generic fluconazole will save many lives and shows a commitment to put patients first. In addition, the recognition of your duty to register generic HIV/AIDS medicines is commendable and is one of the most positive steps taken in South Africa by a statutory body in recent years.

Civil society bodies internationally, and particularly public health advocates will be watching developments closely and give their full support to all health authorities who will make access to medicines and health care for the poor majority in your country a priority.

Yours,


LETTER OF SUPPORT FROM AUSTRALIAN FEDERATION OF AIDS ORGANIZATIONS

Dr. Helen Rees
Chairperson
Medicines Control Council
Private Bag X828
PRETORIA
South Africa

FAX: + 27 (0)12 323 4474

12 December 2000

Dear Dr. Rees

REGISTRATION OF GENERIC MEDICINES FOR HIV/AIDS

We would like to commend the Medicines Control Council's decision to grant a section 21 exemption to the Brooklyn Medical Centre for the use of generic fluconazole. Numerous representatives from the Australian community sector attended the World AIDS Conference in Durban in July 2000, and many of us here are taking a keen interest in global treatment access issues. We are supportive of this action which will save many lives and shows a commitment to putting patients first.

We also commend that the MCC has taken on the duty to register generic HIV/AIDS medicines. It is one of the most positive steps taken in South Africa by a statutory body in recent years.

AFAO is the peak non-government body representing the community-based response to HIV/AIDS in Australia. It is a not for profit organisation and its members include the AIDS Councils in each state and territory and three national organisations: the National Association of People With HIV/AIDS (NAPWA), the Australian Intra-Venous League (AIVL) and the Scarlet Alliance, the peak body for sex worker organisations.

AFAO recognises the fundamental inequalities that are restricting treatment from the majority of the world who need HIV medicines. We support all health authorities who work towards improving access to HIV medicines and health care for those who are most in need, and commend you for your work in this area for the poor majority in South Africa.

Yours sincerely

Bill Whittaker
President Australian Federation of AIDS Organisations, Inc.
PO Box 876
Darlinghurst, NSW 1300
Australia
afao@afao.org.au http://www.afao.org.au