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.

Subject: Single-dose nevirapine is safe and effective. But health facilities must switch to more effective regimens wherever possible.
From: TAC News Service
Date: Wed, 15 Dec 2004 17:15:13 +0200

Apologies for cluttering inboxes today. This is the first of two newsletters we are sending due to the need to respond to, and report on, a number of urgent events.

15 December 2004

Single-dose nevirapine is safe and effective

But public health facilities must switch to more effective regimens wherever possible

Department of Health has once more issued an unscientific, irresponsible and inaccurate statement on nevirapine aimed at undermining public health

Specifically for the media, we emphasise:

The criticisms levelled by the parties involved in the NIH news story, that broke two days ago, do not provide evidence questioning the safety or efficacy of short-course nevirapine. It is false, as has been reported in some places and by the Department of Health, that short-course nevirapine has been associated with thousands of adverse events. There is to date not a single reported life-threatening adverse event associated with this regimen which is used widely in the developing world.

The criticisms of the NIH management relate to the conduct of the trial and the NIH's communication of the problems associated with the HIVNET 012 trial.

The TAC is angry and considering legal advice on the Department of Health's continued misinformation campaign on nevirapine.  Today, yet again, the Department issued a statement misrepresenting the safety of nevirapine. It also misrepresented the Constitutional Court order in the mother-to-child transmission prevention case.

The Department stated today that "unfortunately a court order issued to us by the Constitutional Court did not allow us to proceed in a more cautioned manner. The MCC did not recommend that the use of Nevirapine be stopped altogether, but that it should be used in combination with other drugs, because it was showing a significant resistance of up to 50%. This means that the South African Government's policy to reduce the risk of mother to child transmission of HIV remains unchanged."

It then concluded "The Department of Health will continue providing Nevirapine as monotherapy (a single drug) to mothers and babies at public health facilities until new approach has been decided upon."

But the Constitutional Court order actually states:

"Government is ordered without delay to:

a) Remove the restrictions that prevent nevirapine from being made available for the purpose of reducing the risk of mother-to-child transmission of HIV at public hospitals and clinics that are not research and training sites.


4. The orders made in paragraph 3 do not preclude government from adapting its policy in a manner consistent with the Constitution if equally appropriate or better methods become available to it for the prevention of mother-to-child transmission of HIV."

The TAC demands that government immediate