Defiance Campaign

Fluconazole Campaign

Fluconazole is an essential drug for treating some common oppurtunistic infections associated with HIV, particularly Cryptococcal Meningitis and Systemic Thrush. In the private sector, Fluconazole costs approximately R50 (USD$7) per 200mg tablet. It is a simple drug to administer. Usually two pills a day are required. The South African government buys Fluconazole from Pfizer for approximately R29 (USD$4) per tablet. However, it is sold by many generic manufacturers at less than R2 (USD$0.28) per tablet. Pfizer uses its patent to prevent the South African government from importing Fluconazole from generic drug manufacturers.

TAC has launched a campaign to make fluconazole more widely available to the public health sector. At the moment, the only barrier to the widespread use of Fluconazole by people with HIV/AIDS is its high price. TAC has asked Pfizer, the manufacturer of the drug, to either lower its price or give the South African government a voluntary license to distribute it locally. Pfizer responded by offering Fluconazole for free to people with cryptococcal meningitis. TAC welcomed this offer, which has not been implemented yet, but pointed out that Pfizer has not offered anything to people with systemic thrush (the more common of the two diseases) and has declined to implement the offer on a global basis to other poor countries.

Facts About Fluconazole

Fluconazole is better known under the brand name, Diflucan (or Triflucan). The brandname version is produced by Pfizer. It is an "antifungal" used to prevent and treat common HIV-related diseases (opportunistic infections), especially:
  • Cryptococcal Meningitis, a fungal infection which results in inflammation of the covering of the brain, commonly causing fevers, acute head-aches and leading to death,
  • Coccidiomycosis,
  • Systemic candidosis (Systemic Thrush), a fungal infection whose symptoms include white plaques in the oral area and then spreads throughout the body, often accompanied by a burning chest pain upon eating and difficulty with swallowing.
  • People who get Cryptococcal Meningitis need to take fluconazole every day for the rest of their lives. System Thrush, on the other hand, can usually be cured completely after a short treatment regimen.

    Important Documentation Regarding the Fluconazole Campaign and the Defiance Campaign

  • TAC brings in another generic fluconazole shipment, 12 January 2001
  • Biozole tests equivalent to Diflucan, 18 December 2000
  • MCC agrees to grant conditional section 21 exemption for generic Fluconazole, 30 November 2000
  • TAC press release regarding Pfizer and SA government reaching an agreement, 28 November 2000
  • TAC press release demanding section 21 exemption for generic Fluconazole, 19 November, 2000
  • TAC announces the Christopher Moraka Defiance Campaign Against Patent Abuse, 17 October, 2000
  • Letter sent by TAC to Pfizer on 20 June, 2000
  • Press Release by TAC, 20 June, 2000
  • Please support the TAC Fluconazole campaign by printing and signing this  letter, and then faxing it to Pfizer. Fax number:  (27) (11) 884 8409
  • Letter delivered to William C. Steere Jr., CEO of Pfizer, globally.
  • Business Day report on the TAC Fluconazole campaign.
  • Defiance Campaign Homepage