[Pharm-policy] SA police probe Zackie Achmat drug import of fluconazole
Thu, 26 Oct 2000 01:59:01 -0400
25/10/2000 20:32 - (SA)
TAC's Aids drug import probed
Cape Town - Police on Wednesday
confirmed that they were
investigating charges of illegally importing drugs against the leader
the Aids lobby group Treatment Action Campaign (TAC).
Aids activist Zackie Achmat last Friday agreed to hand over the drugs
to the Department of Health.
He allegedly illegally imported 3 000 tablets of a generic drug from
Thailand in the hope it would be registered for distribution.
Achmat handed himself over to Bellville police in Cape Town after
charges of illegally importing drugs were laid against him by the
Medicines Control Council (MCC) and the Department of Health.
Police spokesman Captain Etienne Terblanche told Sapa the matter
would be forwarded to the Western Cape Director of Public
Prosecutions as soon as the police investigation was completed.
After meeting police in the presence of his lawyer, Achmat last week
told journalists and supporters that he had given the drug, Biozole, to
the department for it to be registered for distribution.
Achmat said TAC asked for a Section 21 registration for the tablet to
speed up the process.
TAC announced earlier this week that it had imported the drug, a
generic version of Fluconazole, at a fraction of the cost.
This was part of its defiance campaign against "patent abuse and Aids
profiteering" by multinational pharmaceutical companies.
Although he bought 5 000 tablets, he left 2 000 in Thailand for
safekeeping in the event that the imported drugs were tampered with
in any way, or not registered.
It was sad the group had to break the law to make treatment available
to HIV sufferers, he said.
A TAC spokesman said that they had not yet received word from police
by Wednesday afternoon.
Western Cape Director of Public Prosecutions Frank Kahn's office said
that Kahn would deliberate whether to press or withdraw charges as
soon as he had received the investigation dockets. - Sapa
James Love <firstname.lastname@example.org> http://www.cptech.org
Consumer Project on Technology, P.O. Box 19367, Washington, DC 200036
voice 1.202.387.8030 fax 184.108.40.20676