Tobeka Daki was a brave and courageous activist from the Eastern Cape who had been living with HER2+ breast cancer since 2013. Despite being a good candidate for trastuzumab, Tobeka was never able to access the treatment due to its high cost. We do not know whether trastuzumab would have saved Tobeka’s life – trastuzumab doesn’t always work. We do know, however, that Tobeka was never given a chance. Even though she was dying and the medicine existed, she was never given an opportunity to try it.
In February 2017 the Tobeka Daki Campaign for Access to Trastuzumab was launched to recognise her inspirational leadership and to pledge ourselves to continue her struggle for access to affordable medicines. Hundreds of women living with cancer, activists, healthcare workers, and organisations across the world joined the struggle to demand that Roche urgently drop the price of trastuzumab and stop attempts to delay more affordable versions of the medicine becoming available.