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Thursday, 19 April, 2001, 13:35 GMT 14:35 UK
Aids court battle: Joint statement
The South African government and the 39 pharmaceutical companies that had taken the government to court released the following statement.

The parties have reached an amicable settlement of the referenced litigation currently pending before the High Court of South Africa, and in consequence the reference applicants have agreed to withdraw from the present legal action.

The parties agree that the challenges of accelerating access to care and treatment for the diseases that affect the health of the South African population, require co-operation and partnership from all stakeholders.

The pharmaceutical industry, whose primary role in addressing these health challenges is to continue its investment in the search for new medicines and vaccines, wishes to work together with the government and citizens of the Republic of South Africa to help them achieve the greatest health benefits for the largest number of people - particularly with respect to the widespread and heavy burden that the emerging and re-emerging communicable diseases are taking on South Africa's families, communities and economies.

The parties show a commitment to work together to implement the government's health care objectives and strategies, each contributing resources and expertise as appropriate.

In furtherance of this commitment, the Health Ministry shall invite a working party from the pharmaceutical industry and also request members of the public to consult with the government in relation to the regulations currently in development and other measures as may be necessary that will implement and give effect to the Medicines and Related Substance Control Amendment Act, Act 90 of 1997 including Section 15 C thereof.

The industry welcomes and looks forward to the opportunity to join with the government in this important work.

The government of the Republic of South Africa reiterates its commitment to honour its international obligations including the Agreement of Trade Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (Trips).

In reliance of this commitment the reference applicants recognise and reaffirm that the Republic of South Africa may enact national laws or regulations including regulations implementing Act 90 of 1997 or adopt measures necessary to protect public health and broaden access to medicine in accordance with the South African constitution and Trips.

The parties recognise, with thanks, the efforts of the Secretary General of the United Nations and the President of the Republic of South Africa in facilitating this agreement.

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See also:

19 Apr 01 | Health
SA Aids case: The repercussions
19 Apr 01 | Health
Aids epidemic 'underestimated'
18 Apr 01 | Africa
In pictures: Aids drug protests
15 Mar 01 | Africa
Analysis: Aids drugs and the law
21 Feb 01 | Business
Glaxo offers cheaper Aids drugs
24 Oct 00 | Aids
Aids drugs factfile
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