Drugs Companies: Victory in South Africa

Apr 20, 2001

Worldwide protests have forced the pharmaceutical companies to drop their court case against the South African government.

Worldwide protests have forced the pharmaceutical companies to drop their court case against the South African government. Their decision shows that protest works. It’s a victory for protesters, for people in developing countries, for people with HIV and for campaigners.
On 19 April, 2001, the South African Treatment Action Campaign (TAC) issued the following press release:

Victory for Activists, People With HIV/AIDS and Poor People
Everywhere!

Pharmaceutical Companies Beaten!

The Pharmaceutical Manufacturers Association and all the pharmaceutical company applicants have UNCONDITIONALLY withdrawn their court application against the South African Government. They will also pay TAC’s costs.

They have conceded to public outrage and the legal arguments prepared by TAC and the South African government.

The Minister of Health has assured TAC that no concessions have been made and that the South African government will proceed to implement the Medicines and Related Substance Control Amendment Act. The government must now fulfil its constitutional duties to protect the rights to life and health of all South Africans.

This is a victory by ordinary people against unethical actions by multinational corporations. It has been shown that with a united global effort, concerned citizens can make a difference. Although this court case has dealt with South African legal issues, it is an example that people in all poor countries can defend their essential interests.

TAC wishes to congratulate everyone who has helped with this battle, especially the thousands of volunteers and demonstrators across South Africa and around the world. This would not have been possible without the assistance of our allies.

There is still much work to be done, though. The campaign continues.

Background
The hugely profitable pharmacetical companies want to stop the sale of low-cost drugs in developing countries – in particular, drugs used to treat HIV and AIDS. They say that only their own, patented, drugs should be used. These cost much more, so far fewer people can be treated – thousands will die if the multinationals have their way. See our GSK page for feedback on protests on 5 March.

 

 

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