Thursday, September 27, 2007

South African government insanity on HIV/AIDS seems to continue

'Mbeki must be investigated'
26/09/2007 17:40 - (SA)

Cape Town - The Treatment Action Campaign (TAC) has called for a judicial investigation into the presidency and the health minister, as well as Christine Qunta.

In a press statement released on Wednesday, the TAC said there was prima facie evidence that illegal and unethical experiments were conducted on people living with HIV/Aids with a toxic and unregistered substance named Virodene.

The experimentation was for commercial benefit.

The statement claimed that the substance Virodene P058 was a derivative of the toxic, potentially lethal industrial solvent N dimethylformamide (DMF), which was never registered with a medicines regulatory authority of any state in the world.

There was evidence that the Office of the Presidency, President Mbeki and Minister of Health Manto Tshabalala-Msimang were involved in these trials after the Medicines Control Council and the University of Pretoria ruled them unethical and in contravention of the law, the TAC said.

President corrupt?

This led the organisation to call for the appointment of a judicial commission of inquiry to determine to what extent the president, health minister, government official had been involved and how much experimentation on people was being conducted.

The TAC also alleged that Christine Qunta, a practising attorney, was an investor and director in a company that profiteers from selling untested and unregistered cures and treatments for Aids.

Qunta was allegedly appointed by the health minister to a presidential task team on traditional medicines.

The TAC alleges that Qunta and her legal firm had earned tens of thousands of rands in fees profiteering from the unethical, unscrupulous and unlawful activities of Matthias Rath, the vitamin salesman.

The organisation believed that "at best it appears someone in the presidency acted unethically in 2000 and 2001. At worst, there is direct involvement of the president himself in corrupt, illegal actions with potentially deadly consequences for patients with HIV."

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