Durban – South Africa should advocate for the creation of local HIV drug manufacturing companies and stop depending on foreign pharmaceutical multinationals for these drugs, says Science and Technology Minister Naledi Pandor.
“We strongly believe that we can no longer depend on suppliers of drugs outside South Africa. Everyone who speaks about the price of drugs speaks about the high cost of these drugs and the price is always stated in dollars and dollars are very expensive for Africans,” said Minister Pandor on Wednesday.
She was speaking at the 21st International Aids Conference underway at the Inkosi Albert Luthuli International Convention Centre in Durban.
“We want to be able to afford these drugs and that can only happen if we produce these drugs in Africa,” Minister Pandor said.
South Africa has been spending $2.2 billion over the last two years to buy HIV/Aids drugs for public hospitals. Expert say the budget African countries allocate to HIV treatment could be significantly reduced if these drugs are produced locally.
Minister Pandor also said her department was using R14 million every year on research.
“We are also involved in activities of finding a cure or vaccine for HIV through our universities,” said Minister Pandor.
South Africa is hosting the Aids conference for the second time since 2000. The conference will conclude on Friday.