“Give access to treatment for cancer and AIDS to the poorer segments of the population”. This is the appeal launched by the Episcopal Commission “Justice and Peace” of South Africa in a statement signed by His Exc. Mgr. Abel Gabuza, Bishop of Kimberley and the President of the “Justice and Peace” Commission, sent to Fides.

“Various cancer drugs are patented and priced out of reach of the poorest”, recalls the Bishop. According to “Justice and Peace” the country needs an innovative approach that effectively balances the protection of the poor and the ability of pharmaceutical companies to recover costs and make reasonable profit off the medical products they make.
For the Bishops the intellectual property protection, as it currently prevails in South Africa had failed to balance achievement of protection of the poor and profit making. “Our system makes new and more effective medicine financially unaffordable for the health department and therefore unavailable to the millions of poor people in South Africa”.
The Bishops also called on the Department of Trade and Industry to save the lives of cancer patients by urgently finalising the National Policy on Intellectual Property for approval by Cabinet. “It is regrettable that the process of finalizing the patent reforms seems to be hijacked by the narrow interests of multinational pharmaceutical companies. We strongly appeal to the Minister of Trade and Industry to take the bold stance of prioritizing the lives of our people over the profit making interests of powerful pharmaceutical companies”, the statement concludes. (L.M.) (Agenzia Fides 14/07/2015)