Stop Stock Outs consortium calls on Department of Health to face reality and end stock outs 28 November JOHANNESBURG – The success and integrity of South Africa’s massive HIV programme is threatened by an invisible and insidious reality: crisis-level stock outs of life-saving medicines which have affected one in five facilities serving 420,000 of the […]

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Tomorrow the Treatment Action Campaign (TAC) is coordinating a nationwide day of action to demand an end to the on-going drug stock-out crisis ravaging across South Africa – as well as urgent action to address the deterioration of quality health care services in various parts of the country. The TAC will be marching in solidarity […]

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NOW IS NOT A TIME FOR BACK-SLAPPING ABOUT PROGRESS – Treatment Action Campaign and SECTION27 statement at the Opening of the 6th South African AIDS Conference:

NOW IS NOT A TIME FOR BACK-SLAPPING ABOUT PROGRESS – Critical Challenges Threaten Successful HIV Prevention and Treatment Programmes if not Addressed Urgently Yesterday at the opening of the 6th SA AIDS Conference the TAC was the recipient of the Dira Sengwe leadership in AIDS award. Sifiso Nkala, a TAC activist since 2000 and a […]

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5 Months Later: Thousands of HIV & TB patients’ lives remain at risk as health department dithers on resolving Eastern Cape drug stock-outs

 DURBAN – Thousands of people living with HIV and TB still risk death and drug-resistance in the Eastern Cape due to ongoing interruptions to their supply of life-saving drugs. A new report released five months after a coalition consisting of the Rural Health Advocacy Project (RHAP), Doctors Without Borders (MSF), the Treatment Action Campaign (TAC) […]

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Invitation: TAC and RuDASA EC Health Consultation- 16 and 18 May 2013

Have your Say! TAC and RuDASA Eastern Cape Health Consultations 16 May 2013: 9 for 10am to 1pm: Mthatha Town Hall, Leeds Rd (between Owen & York) – Hosted by the District AIDS Council 18 May 2013: 9 for 10am to 1pm: East London, Turnbull Park Club, 48 Paterson Street The Treatment Action Campaign (TAC) and the Rural […]

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TAC and NAPWA welcome introduction of FDC but cautions against stock-outs and slow roll-out

The Minister of Health, Dr Aaron Motsoaledi, announced in December last year that the Department of health will be rolling-out a Fixed Dose Combination (FDC) antiretroviral pill that combines three drugs into one. With this FDC many patients will only take one pill, once a day. This one pill contains the individual medicines Efavirenz (EFV), […]

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Systematic Problems in Drug Supply Have to be Addressed Now to Avert Future Crisis

MTHATHA / CAPE TOWN / JOHANNESBURG – After responding to a drug distribution crisis at Mthatha medical depot between 7 December and 24 January, the medical humanitarian organisation Médecins Sans Frontières /Doctors Without Borders (MSF) is handing all activities back to Eastern Cape health authorities. The Treatment Action Campaign (TAC) will mobilize 25 volunteers to […]

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Immediate action required to solve the systemic crisis at Mthatha Medical Depot and to save patients’ lives

The Budget Expenditure Monitoring Forum (BEMF), the Rural Health Advocacy Project (RHAP), the Treatment Action Campaign (TAC), the Rural Doctors Association of Southern Africa (RuDASA), Médecins Sans Frontières’ (MSF) and the Southern African HIV Clinicians Society (The Society) are deeply concerned by widespread stock outs at health facilities in the Eastern Cape, which have been […]

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Thank you all for coming and welcome to Johannesburg.


We are joined today by over 40 activists from all parts of the world, including organisations of people living with HIV, MSF, as well as individual experts and lawyers who have fought for the rights of people to access affordable quality medicines. In this room is the residue of experience from the many successful battles that changed the landscape of the response to HIV and in doing so has prevented millions of deaths.


Some people will remember the last time we met as a group in South Africa at a seminar held by the AIDS Law Project in 2002. It is a different world we are in now:
•    In South Africa in 2002 nobody was on ARV treatment in the public sector. Today over 1,7 million people in are receiving treatment through public sector hospitals and clinics;
•    In 2002 vertical transmission of HIV was 30%; that figure is now 2,5%;
•    In 2002 1000 people a day were dying from AIDS related illnesses, that has now halved to 500 deaths per day;
•    In 2013 the SA government will award a new two-year tender for ARVs valued at R6bn ($800m).


We are glad that the meeting is taking place here in South Africa because the movement led by the Treatment Action Campaign (TAC), and supported by activists internationally, changed the face of the response to the AIDS epidemic. It put pharmaceutical companies on the defensive. It forced drastic price reductions. It encouraged a small number of governments to use the powers they hold under TRIPS (the Agreement on Trade Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights).


However, since those victories the stepping back of the global activist movement has given the pharmaceutical industry time to reposition. The industry looks different now. It is deliberately swallowing up its generic competitors. It is using its influence over the EU and US to advance Free Trade Agreements (FTAs) that tighten intellectual property regimes.


We have to admit that since 2005/6 TAC and SECTION27 have not been at the forefront of the access movement. That role was carried out by comrades in India, Brazil, Thailand, Indonesia and elsewhere. In South Africa we have had to address other issues that are a barrier to access to medicines, including AIDS denialism, weak public health systems and rampant corruption.


To give one example of a battle we are currently involved in. The Eastern Cape Province in SA has two government medicine depots. One is in Mthatha. The depot is severly understaffed and medicines are allegedly being routinely stolen and sold to the private sector. This means public health care facilities in the Eastern Cape are dangerously short of medicines. TAC branches in the area, together with SECTION27, are campaigning to expose the corruption at this depot and to get the Provincial and National government to intervene. It may even be something we have to litigate on.


However, despite all the other challenges we face, we believe that we cannot postpone once more  addressing the issue of patents and intellectual property ‘rights’ as a barrier to access to quality medicines. We have to rejoin this battle now!

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Civil society organisations call for an enquiry into the ongoing stock-outs of medicines

Statement by the Treatment Action Campaign, the HIV Clinicians Society of Southern Africa, the Rural Health Advocacy Project, the Rural Doctors Association of Southern Africa, SECTION27 and Médecins Sans Frontières There have been ongoing shortages of antiretroviral medicines, specifically tenofovir (TDF) and abacavir (ABC) since March in facilities across South Africa. These shortages are compromising […]

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URGENT: Tenofovir shortages in public health system – Important memos from the HIV Clinicians Society

FOR WIDEST DISTRIBUTION 29 March 2012 The Treatment Action Campaign (TAC) is deeply concerned about reports of stock shortages of the essential antiretroviral medicine, tenofovir, in the public health system. Tenofovir is part of the standard regimen prescribed to people with HIV initiating antiretroviral treatment. It is a potent suppressor of HIV with an excellent side effect profile. It is […]

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Bristol-Myers Squibb’s inefficiency puts lives at risk

There is a shortage of the life-saving drug amphotericin B across the country. Amphotericin B is on the Essential Drug List and is used to treat cryptococcal meningitis (CM), an AIDS-defining illness with an extremely high mortality rate. Over 7,000 cases of CM are reported annually in South Africa though the actual number of cases […]

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Damning City Press reports of a health system crumbling

Medicine Stockouts – 3 stories from City Press National Stockouts South Africa’s already crippled state hospitals have run out of life-saving medicines. These three reports by Anna-Maria Lombard in City Press (14 February 2010) paint a damning picture of the South African public health system. Medicine Stockouts – 3 stories from City Press National Stockouts South Africa’s already crippled […]

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A sustainable HIV treatment programme requires a competitive tender.

The Budget and Expenditure Monitoring Forum (BEMF), which draws together individuals and organisations from civil society, academia, government, organised labour and business, focuses attention on ensuring that sufficient money is budgeted for and appropriately spent on meeting the treatment and prevention targets of the national HIV & AIDS and STI Strategic Plan for South Africa […]

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Free State ART Shortages- TAC Demands Answers and Accountability

On 19 December 2009 TAC wrote to Sakhiwo Belot, MEC for Health for the Free State Province, asking for clarity on a range of issues relating to the Free State’s critical, life threatening shortages of antiretroviral drugs. After having failed to receive a response from MEC Belot’s offices, TAC sent a follow-up letter on 21 […]

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