NYT Editorial Says South Africa Should Make Efforts To Distribute Antiretrovirals
It is "dismaying" that the South African government is "still not planning" to distribute antiretrovirals, despite the withdrawal of the pharmaceutical industry's lawsuit against its Medicines and Related Substances Control Act, a New York Times editorial states. The editorial states that "South Africa's government has an ignoble history of skepticism about treating AIDS," citing South African President Thabo Mbeki's questioning of the causal link between HIV and AIDS as an example. The editorial also notes that even discounted antiretrovirals are still too costly for South Africa. "But reservations about treating AIDS cannot explain why South Africa is also stalling on simple and cheap programs to cut mother-to-child transmission," the editorial says, adding, "The cabinet has withheld approval, preferring to study the programs endlessly." Although the director of South Africa's AIDS programs recently allowed the provinces to implement treatments aimed at curbing vertical transmission, the editorial states that "[t]his is welcome, but is far less than the enthusiastic embrace needed to encourage widespread use of mother-to-child programs." The editorial concludes, "Antiretrovirals are being used successfully in African nations less developed than South Africa to extend the life and health of AIDS patients. Their use in South Africa is not only a moral imperative, it is a practical necessity" (New York Times, 6/21).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.