PRETORIA, 27 February 2020 – The South African National AIDS Council (SANAC) welcomes the arrest of two health officials and a Clinic Committee Member caught stealing antiretroviral drugs in Virginia, Free State, presumably to sell in the Black Market.
The officials, who were arrested in Meloding Police Station in Virginia, were caught with 170 bottles of Tribuss and 213 bottles of Atroiza, these total a whopping 10 424 pills combined. Pills that were paid for by taxpayers and meant for people living with HIV who access their ARVs from in public health facilities. This act is therefore not only illegal but also selfish, cruel and unforgivable. The state spends copious amounts of money to ensure that there are enough of these lifesaving ARVs in public health facilities for people living with HIV.
SANAC would like to condemn, in the strongest possible terms, this act and hopes that the justice system will play its part in ensuring that all syndicates involved in stealing of ARVs are brought to book and face the full might of the law.
SANAC will engage with the Department of Health and all relevant stakeholders in ensuring that security in public health facilities is tightened to deter criminals from stealing ARVs and all other medications. These commodities are paid for by taxpayers and should be protected.
We are also aware that ARVs are often used to manufacture illegal drugs in the Black Market and distributed to drug users. This is extremely dangerous considering the fact that incorrect use of ARVs leads to drug resistance meaning should these user become HIV positive, it will be difficult to manage the HIV virus in their body, thus rendering them vulnerable to premature death.
We also plead to members of the public who may have information on syndicates involved in this business to come forward with information so we can curb this repugnant act.