South African, Indian Health Ministers Sign Agreement on Access to Cheaper AIDS Drugs
South African Health Minister Manto Tshabalala-Msimang yesterday signed a declaration of intent with Indian Health Minister C. P. Thakur for cooperation on obtaining cheap drugs for the Southern African Development Community, the South African Press Association/BBC Monitoring reports. Tshabalala-Msimang said, "We will be discussing further the possibility of transferring technology and building the capacity of our country and region with regard to pharmaceutical services." South Africa's Health Department would also work with India on community-based HIV/AIDS and tuberculosis programs, nutrition programs, research and combatting waterborne diseases. In addition, India and South Africa would share health and medical information (SAPA/BBC Monitoring, 4/30). Now that the multinational drug companies have dropped their lawsuit against South Africa's Medicines Control Act, the country is "looking forward to partnerships for affordable medicines," Tshabalala-Msimang said. According to the Press Trust of India/BBC Monitoring, Thakur said that the agreement would increase the South African market for Indian drug makers, noting that several Indian companies have already begun their manufacturing base there and that South Africa may become a "gateway of entry" to the entire continent. He added that the countries would adhere to World Trade Organization agreements (PTI/BBC Monitoring, 5/1).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.