South Africa Resists Call for AIDS Emergency
March 15, 2001
South African President Thabo Mbeki refused on Wednesday to declare AIDS a national emergency, a step that would have enabled his government to override foreign patents on AIDS drugs and purchase lower-cost, generic versions. Speaking to Parliament, Mbeki said he did not think it was necessary to use the World Trade Organization provision that allows the suspension of patents in cases of extreme national emergency. South Africa has an estimated 4.2 million people living with HIV, more than any other country in the world, and the nation has been under huge pressure to initiate the steps necessary to make AIDS drugs affordable and available. Yet the South African government is hesitant to take steps that might affect foreign investment or raise doubts about the nation's devotion to free trade activities. A law passed by the government four years ago that allowed the importation and distribution of generic versions of the drug is now in battle for its life against nearly 40 of the top drug manufacturers in the world.Adapted from:
Other CDC News for March 15, 2001
Washington Post (www.washingtonpost.com)
03/15/01; P. A1; Jeter, Jon
This article was provided by CDC National Prevention Information Network. It is a part of the publication CDC HIV/Hepatitis/STD/TB Prevention News Update.