AIDS activists bring antiretrovirals into South Africa
- By: Debbie Cohen
Generic antiretroviral drugs have been imported into South Africa from Brazil by a leading AIDS activist group to highlight the need for affordable treatment for the country's sufferers.
Members of the Treatment Action Campaign (TAC) imported two shipments of the drugs for 50 patients at primary care clinics run by Medécins sans Frontières (MSF) in Khayelitsha, a shanty town outside Cape Town.
The antiretroviral drugs are those used in a triple combination treatment regimen in the United Kingdom and the United States and include versions of AZT, 3TC, and nevirapine.
MSF said that buying generic drugs, which are manufactured in Brazil, India, and Thailand, can halve the cost of treatment from $3.20 to $1.55. At the World Trade Organisation conference last year it said that developing countries won the right to ignore the patents placed on drugs, in the interest of public health.
Despite this, the South African government does