SAHPRA probes Sisulu for the import of drugs for Duarte
The South African Health Products Regulatory Authority (SAHPRA) is investigating claims by Tourism Minister Lindiwe Sisulu that she obtained ‘life-saving’ medicines for the late ANC Deputy General Secretary Yasmin ‘Jessie »Duarte.
Duarte lost her battle with cancer on Sunday morning and was laid to rest later that day in Westpark Cemetery in accordance with Muslim rites. She was first admitted to hospital in November 2021.
Paying tribute to Duarte on Sunday, Sisulu said she got him medicine on a trip to Russia, but the medicine arrived too late in South Africa.
“I was invited to Russia, and while I was there, I tried to get him medicine. I succeeded but [it] arrived home too late,” Sisulu said.
The regulator has since said it will investigate the minister because only a company registered in South Africa and authorized by SAHPRA can import drugs registered by the watchdog into the country.
“To this end, SAHPRA is reviewing media reports and engaging with the minister’s office. It should be noted that there are many oncology medicines registered by SAHPRA and available in South Africa for a range of cancers,” the regulator said.
“In the event that a treating oncologist needs to obtain an unregistered medicine for a specific patient, SAHPRA has put in place a mechanism in accordance with Article 21 of the Medicines and Related Substances Act. [Act 101 of 1965 as amended].”
According to SAHPRA, the process allows authorized access to specific quantities of unregistered drugs for a specific patient after review of the request submitted to SAHPRA by the treating oncologist.
“In order to allow access to specific drugs, which vary by cancer type, SAHPRA reviews the request and makes a decision within three working days.
“SAHPRA has strict rules and guidelines on the import and export of drugs. This is stipulated in the Medicines and Related Substances Act [Act 101 of 1965 as amended]. South African law states that only a company registered in South Africa and authorized by SAHPRA can import SAHPRA registered medicines into South Africa.
Meanwhile, former President Jacob Zuma said in a statement on Thursday that something is wrong with the South African political fraternity. The former statesman worries about the growing number of ANC officials who are dying.
“Comrades and friends, there is something that worries me [me] very deeply. In the recent past, our main comrades are dying at a rate we have never seen before. This has happened over the past few years,” Zuma said.
“It has indeed been disturbing that in such a short time so many comrades
died without being very ill. Suddenly they get sick and die, why? Is this normal? This certainly leaves many of us worried and suspicious.
“I hope there will be no foul play and I believe that one day if there has been foul play, we will.
get to know.”
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