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South African Court Case -- Documents on the Web

May 11, 2001

Documents in the lawsuit by 39 pharmaceutical companies against Nelson Mandela and the government of South Africa, dropped April 19 after becoming a public-relations disaster for the companies, are available on the TAC (Treatment Action Campaign) Web site, http://www.tac.org.za.

From the other side, the International Association of Pharmaceutical Manufacturers Associations has the one-page "Joint Statement of Understanding between the Republic of South Africa and the Applicants," and a press release, at its Web site, http://www.ifpma.org/ (select News).

In our view the real significance of this case was not so much the legal issues, but rather in showing that world public opinion will no longer allow lifesaving medicines to be priced out of reach of millions of people in poor countries in order to avoid the risk of disturbing lucrative markets in rich countries. Three years ago when the case was filed, very few people were aware of this issue. Now millions are aware, and millions are demanding access to treatment. Industry is welcome to help in developing systems that work, rules everyone can live with. When industry fails to provide viable leadership, the work will be done without them.


ISSN # 1052-4207

Copyright 2001 by John S. James. Permission granted for noncommercial reproduction, provided that our address and phone number are included if more than short quotations are used.


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