[Ip-health] UAEM: "SOUTH AFRICAN D.G. OF HEALTH, DOCTORS CHALLENGE PHARMA LOBBYING PLANS"

Rachel Kiddell-Monroe rachel.k.monroe at essentialmedicine.org
Thu Jan 23 05:02:41 PST 2014


SOUTH AFRICAN D.G. OF HEALTH, DOCTORS CHALLENGE PHARMA
LOBBYING PLANS

GENEVA, January 23, 2014 - In a meeting with Universities Allied for
Essential
Medicines (UAEM), South African Director General of Health Malebona Precious
Matsoso strongly criticized a leaked proposal by the pharmaceutical industry
lobby to undermine access to medicines in South Africa.

The leaked plan from Public Affairs Engagement, a lobbying firm based in
Washington, D.C., focused on halting reforms to South Africa's intellectual
property laws that would expand access to life-saving drugs. The firm
outlined a
subversive grassroots campaign to cast doubt on the well-established link
between patent-protected prices and limited drug access for lower-income
South
Africans. US and South African pharmaceutical companies planned to argue
that
sick South Africans would benefit more from increased pharmaceutical sector
income than from securing more affordable treatments for HIV and other
deadly
diseases. The leaked lobbying plan warned that PhRMA should avoid allowing
the South African reforms to become a model for others countries inside and
outside Africa, including India and Brazil.

“This is taking us back 18 years,” said Director General Precious Matsoso.
“Nelson Mandela led the response to the HIV/AIDS crisis in South Africa,
and we
have made much progress with 2.4 million people on ARVs. Where intellectual
property is a barrier to access to medicines, countries must protect the
safeguards that are in the TRIPS agreement in order to save lives.”

Whatever happens with the leaked plan, DG Matsoso, South African health
activists, and UAEM members say this furtive campaign raises broader
concerns
about the pharmaceutical industry's role in global public health.

“This PhRMA/IPASA strategy harkens back to the one used over a decade ago
to block access to affordable AIDS drugs in Africa, “ said Dr. Kavitha
Kolappa,
former board member of UAEM and observer at the WHO Executive Board
meeting in Geneva. “This threatens access to newer medications not only for
HIV/AIDS, but also for the burgeoning epidemic of chronic diseases.
Literally
millions of lives are at stake here." At a time when we are facing a double
burden
of infectious and non-communicable diseases, we must act swiftly against
barriers to access for life-saving medications.

As the WHO Executive Board meets today to discuss a resolution concerning
access to medicines, UAEM encourages all Member States to stand in
solidarity
with South Africa and its proposed reforms to protect the lives of the
world’s poor.

For Press Inquiries: Contact Bryan Collinsworth, UAEM Executive Director
bcollinsworth at essentialmedicine.org


Rachel Kiddell-Monroe
Universities Allied for Essential Medicines
www.uaem.org
@access2rachel
"Charity is no substitute for justice withheld," Saint Augustine.
 <http://www.uaem.org>



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