South Africa: Government Should Be Buying Its Pharmaceuticals Locally - - Especially Now

analysis

Someone very special to me is ill with multidrug-resistant TB. As TB is the leading cause of death in South Africa, and a particularly unpleasant disease, this is a scary diagnosis. But she is young, receiving the best of care and will survive.

First published in DM168

However, 15 years ago there was no treatment and 10 years ago the treatment entailed months of daily injections with horrible side-effects that included nerve damage and going deaf. Permanently.

There are, thankfully, newer drugs available. But as with all things in medicine, the more effective your drug, and the fewer side-effects it has, the more expensive it is. Some of these drugs, like Bedaquiline, can set you back $120,000 for the two years of treatment you require -- although luckily this drug is sponsored in South Africa.

Someone equally close to me is suffering the lingering and possibly long-lasting effects of Covid-19. He has zero energy, shortness of breath and is just not "present".

So, I am watching the news announcements about the development of the novel coronavirus vaccines with a more than passing interest -- as are the markets, which have reacted positively.

While Africa continues to grapple with some of...

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