Press Releases

    SG/SM/7772
    AFR/312
    AIDS/5
    20 April 2001

    SECRETARY-GENERAL "DELIGHTED" BY PHARMACEUTICAL COMPANIES’ WITHDRAWAL OF LEGAL ACTION AGAINST
    SOUTH AFRICAN GOVERNMENT

    NEW YORK, 19 April (UN Headquarters) -- The following statement was issued today by the Spokesman for Secretary-General Kofi Annan:

    The Secretary-General is delighted by the news that the pharmaceutical companies have withdrawn from their legal action against the Government of South Africa, after reaching an amicable settlement on the question pending before the High Court of South Africa over the 1997 Medicines Act 90, concerning national legislation on parallel importing and compulsory licensing of medicines. He hopes that this will result in medicines to treat HIV/AIDS and other diseases becoming much more widely available in South Africa, at prices that those who need them can afford, and that it presages a new era of cooperation between governments and the private sector in the struggle for better health care throughout the developing world.

    The credit for this positive outcome goes to the wisdom and perseverance of the parties concerned, and to the constructive intervention of President Thabo Mbeki.

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