A collection of quotes on what those involved in the court case and those most likely to be affected have to say.
“It is because the law is so fundamental to transforming our highly inequitable health care system to benefit even the poorest sections of our society that we will defend this costly action to the fullest extent. The inequities in health care in South Africa, and the problems in relation to universal access and adequate quality, run so deep that they demand major structural interventions ‘ not a mere tinkering at the margins.” ‘ Dr Ayanda Ntsaluba, Director General National Department of Health.
“Our relationship with government is without a doubt strained, it’s strained because they expect us to say ‘ ‘Fine, patents are no longer important. Just to show you we do support your ultimate objective we’re not going to challenge you on anything’. We can’t do that because most of what we’re challenging, we’re challenging because we believe it’s bad law, not because it’s going to bring in cheaper medicine ‘ which I don’t believe it will ‘ or that we’re trying to go against policy.” ‘ Mirryena Deeb, Chief Executive Officer, Pharmaceutical Manufacturers’ Association of SA.
“World trade rules on drug patents are raising prices and restricting access to vital medicines, reinforcing the link between ill health and poverty, and widening the health gap between the rich and poor. It is time the pharmaceutical companies stop bullying governments. We hope the South African government win this court case.” ‘ Stewart Wallis, International Director, Oxfam Great Britain.
“We are bringing to the court support for the legislation because we believe the legislation supports the right to dignity, the right to life, the right to equality and the right to access to healthcare services in that it will make medicines more affordable and it will improve the health care services.” ‘ Zackie Achmat, Treatment Action Campaign and living with HIV/AIDS. (TAC has applied to be a “friend of the court” in the court case)
“GlaxoSmithKline acknowledges that it is the role of Government to develop strategies for addressing the HIV/AIDS epidemic in South Africa. We would like to reiterate our commitment to cooperation with the Government in this area.” ‘ John Kearney, GlaxoSmithKline South Africa.
“While MSF respects intellectual property rights, as doctors tending to people in dire need of treatment, we believe that it would be unethical to turn down an offer (for generics) that will allow us to treat ten times the number of people with HIV/AIDS simply so that a company can earn more profits.” – Eric Goemaere, Medicins Sans Frontieres
“The big pharmaceutical companies are holding Africa to ransom while the children are on the brink. Some of them have skin problems and lung
problems, respiratory problems which we can more-or-less control, but every day the virus is increasing in number and it’s only a matter of time until it overcomes them.” – Father Angelo d’Agostino, director of the Nairobi orphanage after accepting an offer of cheaper AIDS drugs from Cipa, a Indian generic drug manufacturer.
“Access to affordable drugs is a matter of life and death in our region, as access to these drugs determines who lives and who dies.” ‘ Dr Manto Tshabalala-Msimang, National Minister of Health.