The Connection Between This Litigation And Pharmaceutical Interests

  1. There is a close connection between the interests of the pharmaceutical industry and this Application. In fact this litigation is part of an ongoing effort by pharmaceutical interests to maintain its monopoly on patented drugs. This corporate influence on individuals and organizations named in the Application is documented in detail in part B of this response. The following paragraphs merely provide an introduction to this background.
  2. The Treatment Action Campaign (“TAC”) the first applicant. The connection between the “TAC” and the pharmaceutical industry has been the object of previous litigation at the High Court of Cape Town, Case number 2807/05.
  3. Even though the Court in its ruling on March 6, 2006 , stated we could not – yet – conclusively prove that the “TAC” operates as a front for the pharmaceutical industry, the Court did not object – among others – the following statements characterizing the “TAC’s” activities:
    1. “The TAC organises rented crowds for the drug industry.”
    2. “The TAC pays people to participate in its demonstrations.”
    3. “The TAC encourages medicine which is harmful to them and will kill them.”
    4. “The TAC forces the government to spend millions of Rand on toxic drugs.”
  4. The South African Medical Association (SAMA). SAMA, the second applicant. SAMA is represented in this litigation by its board. As will be detailed below, the leading SAMA board members are connected to the pharmaceutical investment interests through their professional careers and positions they hold in organizations heavily sponsored by the drug industry.

    While the careers of most board members of SAMA remain dependent on the survival of pharmaceutical dogmas – explaining their adamant hostility towards nutritional and traditional medicines – it is a well known fact that a growing number of general practitioners and other doctors in South Africa consider these natural health approaches as a part of their daily practice.
  5. The Advertising Standards Agency (ASA) of South Africa. The ASA is being extensively used in this Application as an “expert witness.” Thus, the following facts needs to be documented:
    1. The ASA is a private company, led by business tycoon Mervin King, was co founded by the Pharmaceutical Manufacturer’s Association of South Africa. To this day, this lobby group remains a financier and stakeholder within the ASA representing the interests of pharmaceutical multinationals in South Africa . This means that the ASA is not an independent, unbiased organisation and cannot be relied upon to exercise independent judgement on an issue that is likely to affect the interests of its financiers and members.
    2. Moreover, under the pretext of protecting ‘standards’ in the media,’ the ASA is being used as a privately run “censorship” body to protect the business interests of its founding members. With the help of the ASA the pharmaceutical industry tries to eliminate any threats to its multibillion Rand market with patented AIDS drugs, e.g. by science based natural health approaches. In order to cope with this threat the ASA simply tries to ban the publication of the health benefits of non-patentable micronutrients across South Africa ! This fact is documented by the ASA “ruling” - referred to in this Application – that tries to ban even textbook knowledge of biology about nutrition and micronutrients from being printed in South African Media and from reaching millions of people.
  6. The witness Willem Daniel Francois Venter. Dr Venter is head of the HIV Clinicians Society, a so-called “special interest group” that focuses on the promotion of ARVs. By that very nature he serves the interests of the pharmaceutical investment business in the AIDS market. Moreover, as documented in the “publication list” attached to his affidavit, Dr Venter’s entire academic career is dependent on the validity of the ARV dogma: essentially all his publications serve the promotion of ARVs, while not a single one of Venter’s publications serves to document the key role of micronutrients to improve immune function.

    Thus, while in his Affidavit Venter portrays himself as a representative of the “scientific” truth about AIDS, in his ARV focused career he fails to address the most basic facts of biological science: the essential role of micronutrients for optimum immune function – a fact taught in the first years of the university curricula in biology and other life sciences the world over.
  7. The witness Robert Edwin Dorrington. Professor Dorrington has, according to the curriculum vitae attached to his own affidavit, for a number of years served as head of the UCT Retirement Fund. According to the UCT Website, the fund invests in “companies that have the best growth prospects in the world. For example, there are very few South African companies in the rapidly growing pharmaceutical and health care sector - internationally the Fund can get exposure to the best companies in this sector” (Annexure ‘UCT Retirement Fund’).
  8. These are just a few examples of the connection between pharmaceutical interests and this case. A more comprehensive list of individuals and organisations named in this Application and their specific background is documented in Section B.
  9. In addition to the above information, the public nature of this case requires the following clarification:
    1. Foreign-owned media. Even though not part of this litigation, some South African media have openly taken sides with the promoters of ARVs and have tried to pre-try this case in the court of public opinion. Considering the fact that some of the largest media in South Africa are part of media conglomerates held by national and international investment groups, this biased reporting is no surprise either (Annexure ‘Media Pharma’).
    2. “Civil society.” In a similar way, the Applicants continue to justify their action against me and the other Respondents as being in the interest of “civil society.” They are promoting coalitions of common interests with certain segments of this “civil society.” A closer look at these segments reveals the nature of these common interests:
      1. The Congress of South African Trade Unions (COSATU) has pension funds in the range of billions of Rand . Among the investments made by the COSATU pension funds are huge direct and indirect investments in the pharmaceutical industry. Hence, some COSATU leaders have become outspoken promoters of ARV drugs because they have a financial interest therein (Annexures ‘Cosatu Imuniti’, ‘Cosatu Netcare’).
      2. The South African Council of Churches (SACC). More than one quarter of the annual budget of the South African Protestant church comes from the Protestant church of Germany (Evangelische Kirche Deutschlands, EKD) and its affiliates. Germany is one of the few countries in the world where the churches are funded by state taxes, essentially abandoning any separation between churches and state. (Annexure ‘SACC’).
      3. Germany is not only a leading export nation of pharmaceutical drugs but the German churches also play a role in the promotion of pharmaceutical drugs especially in the developing world and some church leaders have particular connections to this industry. A case in point is the current head of the Protestant Church in Germany (Evangelische Kirche Deutschlands, EKD), Dr Huber, who had parts of his academic career financed by the “Eli Lilly Foundation”, the tax-shelter of one of the largest pharmaceutical companies in the world (Annexure ‘Huber Pharma’).
      4. It is the very same EKD church of Dr Huber that finances more than one third of the annual budget of the Protestant church in South Africa .
      5. For more details I refer to Section B of this affidavit.