South African Government’s Criticism of Anglo Treatment Plan Highlights Its ‘Lamentable’ Stand on HIV/AIDS, Editorial Says
The South African government's criticism of mining conglomerate Anglo American's plan to offer antiretroviral treatment to its HIV-positive employees "is not only puzzling but raises large moral issues," a Wall Street Journal Europe editorial states. Last week after Anglo announced the treatment access program, the government said that the company should have consulted it before moving ahead with the program, citing "concerns" with the initiative. Such concerns "are clearly government fears that if the Anglo American effort succeeds in ameliorating the effects of the disease, the state might come under heavy pressure to pay for drugs for other sufferers," the editorial states, adding that such a consultation would have been "unlikely" to "reconcil[e] their assessments of the AIDS problem and how best to deal with it." Upon closer examination, "we ought to be less surprised at the government reaction," the editorials states, saying that South Africa's record on HIV/AIDS is "lamentable." Unlike the government, Anglo executives have "realized ... that HIV/AIDS threatens every aspect of social and economic activity" and are taking steps to counter the disease's effects, the editorial says, adding that the company's motivations are not "pure[ly] altruis[tic]" because it is worried about the effect of the disease on its profits. However, the government continues to "perpetuate" ignorance about the disease, the editorial states, concluding, "Instead of educating people, the government of the country that stands to lose most from this diseases is doing less about it than almost any other government in Africa" (Wall Street Journal Europe, 8/20).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.