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South Africa Wins landmark case against pharmaceutical giants

South Africa has scored a landmark legal victory over pharmaceutical giants wanting to stop South Africa from importing cheap AIDS drugs. The country with largest number of AIDS patients in the world now wants to secure affordable drugs from around the world to tackle its AIDS epidemic.

The Health Ministry of South Africa, published 70 pages of draft legislation that would allow it to shop around for the cheapest drugs, particularly those that can treat opportunistic infections associated with HIV-AIDS.

In April this year 39 of the biggest pharmaceutical firms were dealt a blow by a South African court when an attempt by the firms to strike down a law permitting South Africa to import cheap AIDS drugs was beaten off by the court.

Health experts and AIDS activists say that this would lower the cost of medicines to ordinary South Africans suffering from the disease but the expensive anti retroviral drugs are still way above the reach of an average South African. South Africa has nearly five million people or more than one tenth of its population infected with the deadly virus. Unfortunately only a tinny minority can afford the expensive anti retroviral drugs and the Government says this drugs are still too expensive for its health budget.

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