In the High Court of South Africa, Case No. 4138/98: The Global Politics of Access to Low-Cost AIDS Drugs in Poor Countries
Kennedy Institute of Ethics Journal 2002 June; 12(2): 159-174
In 1998, 39 pharmaceutical manufactures sued the government of South Africa to prevent the implementation of a law designed to facilitate access to AIDS drugs at low cost. The companies accused South Africa, the country with the largest population of individuals living with HIV/AIDS in the world, of circumventing patent protections guaranteed by intellectual property rules that were included in the latest round of world trade agreements. The pharmaceutical companies dropped their lawsuit in the spring of 2001 after an avalanche of negative publicity. Yet, despite the government's victory, AIDS drugs remain very expensive in South Africa, and the government still refuses to provide antiretroviral therapy to adults. These events have shone a spotlight, not only on the possibilities for coordinated political activism in the era of instant global communications, but also on the tangled social, economic, and political dimensions of AIDS treatment in poor countries.
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Lessons From South Africa's Experience of HIV/AIDS Review of the Political Management of HIV and AIDS in South Africa: One Burden Too Many? by Pieter Fourie; When Bodies Remember: Experiences and Politics of AIDS in South Africa, by Didier Fassin; Mortal Combat: AIDS Denialsim and the Struggle for Antiretrovirals in South Africa, by Nicoli Nattrass Zeitz, Paul (2007-07-07)