This is an archive of the Treatment Action Campaign's public documents from
December 1998 until October 2008. I created this website because the TAC's
website appears unmaintained and people were concerned that it
was becoming increasingly hard to find important documents.
The menu items have been slightly edited and a new stylesheet applied to the site. But none of the documents have been edited, not even for minor errors. The text appears on this site as obtained from the Internet Archive.
The period covered by the archive encompassed the campaign for HIV medicines, the civil disobedience campaigns, the Competition Commission complaints, the 2008 xenophobic violence and the PMTCT, Khayelitsha health workers and Matthias Rath court cases.
The National Executive Committee of the TAC met in Cape Town on 24 & 25 January 2005. The following resolutions were agreed upon.
Access to Antiretroviral treatment and the implementation of the National Treatment Plan
Noting the slow pace of the ARV roll-out and the growing numbers of people dying of AIDS related illnesses, the NEC resolved to make TACs major national platform in 2005 the demand for 200,000 people on ARV treatment by 2006!
This campaign will include
a march by TAC Western Cape to Parliament on 16 February 2005 to call on the government to Save 200,000 lives by 2006,
TAC branches will throughout the year lead community mobilizations for HIV testing and CD4 counts and treatment (Campaign slogans: Use your rights: Seek HIV testing, seek CD4 testing, seek treatment, use condoms! Treatment its your right use it!),
education and mobilization to expand access to pediatric treatment,
continued monitoring of the mother-to-child transmission prevention programme and of steps taken by the national and provincial governments to introduce improved regimens and continued support for single dose nevirapine in areas where the capacity and resources to introduce dual therapy are not yet in place.
Access to affordable medicines
After discussion on ongoing problems concerning the price and availability of essential medicines the TAC NEC resolved to continue to campaign for access to affordable and essential medicines through demands to government, the drug companies and the international community. In particular TAC will
campaign to reduce the price of essential ARV 2nd line regimens,
call for the local manufacture of generic versions of key drugs for example efavirenz and tenofovir, the latter manufactured by Gilead who have stated they will not enforce their patent,
demand voluntary or compulsory Licenses on essential drugs including ritonavir, lopinavir/ritonavir and efavirenz and if necessary initiate legal action,
demand the price of valganycyclovir to be dropped and for generic manufacturers to produce this medicine because Roche, the patent-holder, has undertaken not to enforce its patent on HIV-related medicines in Africa,
demand the price of amphotericin B to be dropped and for generic manufacturers to produce this medicine because this medicine is no longer under patent and
write to the Minister of Health and the procurement team requesting an explanation of the failure to finalise the tender for the procurement of antiretroviral drugs.
HIV Prevention, Youth mobilization and HIV Testing
The NEC agreed on the need for TAC to become more outspoken and effective on issues related to HIV prevention as many HIV prevention campaigns are weak and access to male and female condoms remains very limited. The NEC stressed the need for TAC youth to be able to understand and advocate the science of HIV prevention more effectively.
A pilot youth prevention training camp will take place in March 2005 and a national youth camp will be run later in the year.
The NEC also resolved to support the scaling up of access to HIV testing. TAC supports the routine offer of HIV Testing and will promote the routine request of an HIV test by people seeking health care services and treatment. However, the NEC continues to support the rights of people to pre-test counseling, post test counseling, to decide not to have an HIV test and to confidentiality within health services.
Peoples Health Service Campaign
The NEC received reports and suggestions from TACs health sector representatives, as well as from rural doctors and MSF. It discussed the importance of strengthening the Peoples Health Service campaign and of developing more tangible proposals around key issues such as the human resource plan. Campaign demands will be for a human Resource plan and a stop to the freezing of posts in the Eastern Cape. There cannot be quality health care without sufficient health care workers.
In particular it was agreed that TAC EC provincial office should work to support the Madwaleni district hospital by providing materials and treatment literacy training. TAC would wait to hear from doctors at Madwaleni district hospital as to whether vacant posts are filled or not, by end of February 2005. If not, TAC will take up this issue.
Health Workers Campaign
TAC needs to strengthen its health worker campaign. TAC needs to be more closely involved in issues of health care workers remuneration and working conditions.
It was recommended that the Secretariat investigate employing a co-ordinator for the health sector and its campaigns in TAC because health workers themselves are too over-burdened.
A number of political issues were discussed.
The NEC discussed the defamatory attack on TAC by ANC Weekly in December 2004.
It was decided not to sue ANC Today because we believe that the majority of ANC members and leaders are not AIDS denialists and would not subscribe to the views expressed by the unnamed author of the article. Litigation would be a diversion from trying to unify ANC members and the country as a whole behind effective HIV prevention and treatment. Instead TAC will produce an "Open Letter to ANC members" setting out our real objectives and answering some of the inaccuracies in the article. This will be made available to ANC members at community level, and we will challenge the ANC to allow TAC a right of Reply in ANC Today on the same basis that they gave The Economist.
The NEC noted the defamatory attack on TAC by the Traditional Healers Organisation (THO). It also noted the alliance between the THO, the AIDS denialists in SA and Dr Mathias Rath. The THO is becoming a new front for attempts to discredit TAC and confuse the public about antiretroviral medicines. This will eventually undermine the THO.
The NEC resolved to support the complaint against Dr Rath to the Advertising Standards Authority, and to consider further measures against Rath when necessary.
The NEC resolved to continue to campaign in support of the integration of traditional medicines into the health system, as long as traditional medicines and healers meet the accepted international standards concerning evidence of efficacy, safety and quality of traditional medicines.
The TAC research department will develop a more complete position on traditional medicines and a TAC conference with legitimate traditional healers will be organized in the first half of 2005.
Basic Income Grant campaign
The NEC received a report from the national co-ordinator of the Basic Income Grant Coalition (BIG) and resolved that
a letter be written to BIG Coalition partners outlining how the campaign can be improved,
that TAC should meet with the BIG Leadership and
that TAC will support the planned BIG march in October.
The UK government is campaigning for debt reduction and market access for developing countries, particularly in agriculture. Therefore, the UK presidency of the G8 and EU provides a unique opportunity for progressive organisations to mobilise and put pressure on the G8, IMF, WTO and World Bank to to implement policies to eliminate poverty and promote development. The NEC resolved
to support the campaigns around the G8 for debt reduction, sustainable AIDS funding and greater market access for developing countries,
employ a treatment literacy co-ordinator to work in the SADC region to promote treatment literacy and
campaign with SADC organisations for treatment plans, lower medicine prices and human resource support for SADC countries.
People Living With HIV/AIDS (PLWA) Sector
The NEC agreed that there should be an Its My Life Campaign driven by the PLWA Sector. This campaign should also provide information on alcohol and antiretrovirals.
It was resolved to have a national summit between PWAs and TAC's treatment literacy department to improve the rollout treatment literacy in the PWA sector.
It was resolved that the Chairperson in consultation with the secretariat may delegate any TAC member in good standing to depose to affidavits on behalf of TAC and to find expert witnesses.
The NEC reiterated the need for legal action against drug companies, laboratories and other agencies to ensure
the cheapest possible prices for the public and private sectors of antiretrovirals, diagnostic tools and other medicines essential to treat HIV/AIDS and its co-infections,
a reliable and sustainable supply of these medicines and diagnostics - specifically, to ensure fixed-dose combinations for children and access to PCR testing and
the lawful implementation of the Medicines Act regulations on dispensing fees and other pricing issues.
In particular, the NEC affirmed support for TAC and its allies to proceed with litigation and legal advocacy in a number of matters.
Litigation may proceed for generic competition for efavirenz by the ALP against MSD at the Competition Commission. Possible further actions to consider include using the Patents Act and bringing an action against the Minister of Health on procurement and her duty to apply for compulsory licenses
The complaint against the National Pathology Group for price-fixing and excessive pricing of diagnostics and monitoring such as CD4 counts and viral load will be concluded effectively. In the event of the Competition Commission not referring the complaint, the ALP will refer the complaint to the Competition Tribunal on behalf of TAC.
Litigation will be considered for access to generic formulations of protease inhibitors and new drugs, in particular action against Abbot for generic competition on lopinavir/ritonavir.
The TAC will apply to intervene at the Constitutional Court as an amicus curiae in the matter between the pharmacists and the Minister of Health.
Litigation may proceed on the censorship of TAC, people living with HIV/AIDS and the alleged homophobia of the health minister and her legal advisor Patricia Lambert in relation to the "Toolkit" of the Policy Project.
Litigation against provinces such as KZN and Limpopop to access national and provincial ARV implementation may proceed. This can be conducted by ODAC assisted directly by the AIDS Law Project.
The ALP, if necessary, may proceed with litigation on matters related to human resource crises in the Eastern Cape.
On mother-to-child transmission prevention, the NEC agreed that wherever possible government must improve its protocols for MTCT in line with international recommendations and Western Cape policy. The Legal Resources Centre should continue monitoring the progress and quality of the implementation and, if necessary litigate to ensure that women have access to antiretrovirals and, where chosen by women, formula milk. All TAC districts and the Joint Civil Society Monitoring Forum must monitor mother-to-child transmission prevention. In particular the NEC resolved that
the LRC may grant the Minister of Health and the MECs an extension to reply to our letter on improving protocols by not later than mid-February and
the LRC may litigate on behalf of TAC against the Minister of Health and any other agency that misleads the public on the safety and efficacy of nevirapine or any other medicine.
Matters arising for follow up from Resolutions of the TAC NEC Meeting of October 2004
The following resolutions arose during discussion of the minutes of the previous NEC meeting:
A meeting with public sector unions should occur.
COSATU will raise the issue of HIV/AIDS at a meeting between COSATU and ANC on Thursday 28 January.
The copy of the letter sent to the Head of the Health Portfolio Committee regarding SANAC should be made available to NEC.
The NEC endorses the continuation of Civil Society Forum on HIV Prevention and Treatment.
All NEC sector representatives should distribute short written reports before NEC meetings.
It was further noted that
GSK issued 5 voluntary licences for AZT and Lamivudine and Boehringer Ingelheim issued three for nevirapine and
the NEC should publish a report with the assistance of the ALP on the outcomes of one year since the Competition Commission settlement with GlaxoSmithKlein and Boehringer Ingelheim and that this report should be distributed to SANAC and the complainants.
TAC Provincial Work
In February each province and district must organise a provincial strategic planning meeting. The output must be a concrete strategic plan for 2005 against which we can measure success. We need to know: Who are our active branches? What is their purpose? Where are our inactive branches? Should they be reactivated? Strategic plans must also be informed by the provincial government planning documents obtained by ODAC.
Every PEC meeting should assess progress of the above provincial plan.
The provincial co-ordinators must lead the strategic planning processes.
A review of the year will be conducted in November 2005 for two days.
TACs Human Resources
It was resolved that
TAC needs a clearer HR plan in relation to its staff; in particular it must identify management support positions that are needed,
a principle of providing extra resources where needed for under-resourced provinces will be followed,
treatment literacy practitioners are needed for MP and LP,
an appeal should be made for more professional volunteers to work with TAC,
we will meet with Bonitas Medical Scheme to discuss poor service and benefits and
the next NEC meeting must have a detailed discussion on the programme, planning and reporting of the Campaigns Department.
A report was given of the process of voting for amendments to the TAC Constitution. The NEC resolved that
the amended Constitution be adopted on the basis of the overwhelming vote in favour of the amendments,
the next NEC will be also be an AGM and will take place in April 2005,
the 3rd TAC national Congress will take place in September 2005,
the TAC Provincial Congresses should take place in July 2005,
the secretariat will analyse conditional yes votes to see whether any proposals should be considered for further constitutional amendments,
the translation of Constitution (and other documents) is the responsibility of provincial co-ordinators and
the TAC Constitution will be prepared in a small booklet.
On General Secretary Position
The NEC approved the principle that there should be a Congress-elected General-Secretary. This position should come into effect from the 3rd National Congress. A document is needed for the next NEC outlining the purpose, problems, constitutional issues and type of person for this post. Provinces will then be mandated to discuss this document at provincial congresses.
On Fraud and Corruption in TAC
The NEC resolved that regardless of circumstances staff and volunteers find themselves in, we have to respond consistently to financial mismanagement. Police will be called into theft and fraud cases. It was further resolved that
spreading lies and unsubstantiated rumours through gossip aimed at undermining TAC members or staff should be treated as a disciplinary offence and
whistle-blowing via the appropriate structure should be encouraged in TAC.
Next NEC Meeting April 2005.