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Cosatu repeats call for state pharmaceutical company

Cosatu repeats call for state pharmaceutical company

The Congress of South African Trade Unions (Cosatu) said the only solution to price fixing among pharmaceutical giants, was to establish a state pharmaceutical company.

Cosatu said the investigation into companies like Aspen, Roche and Pfizer, was cause enough to have a proposal for a state manufacturer brought to the table. The sentiment appears to be that these companies, and others like it, have been allowed to exploit the monopoly that they have, at the expense of ordinary South Africans.

While no findings have been made on this latest probe, Cosatu remains adamant that the only solution to the supply of medicine was for government to get directly involved.

"The announcement by the Competition Commission that it was investigating pharmaceutical manufacturer Aspen Pharmacare and Roche and Pfizer for suspected excessive pricing of their cancer drugs is a reminder of the immorality of the capitalist system and the voracious greediness of pharmaceutical companies," said Cosatu national spokesperson Sizwe Pamla. 

"This is troubling because it's an old problem that has been neglected by our government; despite a clear and unambiguous resolution by the ANC, for a need to establish a state pharmaceutical entity," added Pamla.  

Pamla went so far as to say that healthcare in South Africa was being sabotaged by the pharmaceutical giants.

"In 2001 the same pharmaceutical companies held the entire nation's health and well being to ransom, when they lobbied against the implementation of the Medicines and Related Substances Control Amendment Act. 

"This happened while thousands of people were dying from curable diseases and when the Aids epidemic was worsening.

"The greedy Pharmaceutical Manufacturers Association (PMA) an association of multinational companies who have rights to the drugs that treated some opportunistic diseases even lobbied the American government to impose sanctions on South Africa at the time, if government continued to implement the law."

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