Highlights from 2003-2004

TAC's Women's Health Coordinator!

Thursday, November 13, 2003, 12:30-2pm at the Law School, 127 Wall Street (Room 120).
Directions to the law school available here

South Africa's internationally acclaimed Treatment Action Campaign (TAC) was established in 1998 to mobilize national support for access to treatment by people living with HIV/AIDS. TAC recently received the 2003 Nelson Mandela Award for Health and Human Rights, established by the Henry J. Kaiser Foundation to recognize extraordinary leadership in improving the health of disadvantaged populations.

Nonkosi Khumalo leads the organization's campaign to enforce the historic judgment by South Africa's Constitutional Court in the case brought by TAC to prevent mother-to-child HIV transmission (MTCT).

This event is free and open to the general public. Donations to the Treatment Action Campaign can be made at the door. For more information about this event, please call (203) 776 - 8213 or e-mail

To learn more about TAC, visit
Various in-depth articles have been written about TAC's founders, particularly TAC's current national director Zachie Achmat. See, for example, Samantha Power's May 2003 article for The New Yorker at

The Court's 2002 judgment in the MTCT is available here.
In short, TAC prevailed in the trial court, which ruled that restricting the antiretroviral drug nevirapine to a limited number of pilot sites in the public sector "is not reasonable and is an unjustifiable barrier to the progressive realization of the right to health care." In July 2002, the Constitutional Court of South Africa, the country's highest court, affirmed the ruling, stating that the government's nevirapine policy violated the health care rights of women and newborns under the South African constitution.

Highlights from 2002-2003

Panel Discussions: Intellectual Property and Global Health (September 24, 2002). YAN organized 2 panels to discuss access to medicines, global public health, and intellectual property rights. Both panels provided students with unique opportunities to discuss the issue with key leaders of the international debate about treatment access that has emerged over the last two years.

--Panel #1 at the medical school. Focused on access to ARVs and the experiences of Brazil, Thailand, and other developing countries with regard to both patented and generic HIV medications. Dean Kessler chaired the panel, which included Ellen t’Hoen, Director of Globalization and Drug Access, Doctors Without Borders; Dr. Eloan Dos Santos Pinheiro, Director of the Institute of Drug Technology, Oswaldo Cruz Foundation in Brazil; and Dr. Krisana Kraisintu, Director, Thailand’s Research & Development Institute Government Pharmaceutical Organization.

--Panel #2 at the law school. Focused on the effects of IP on global health. Harlon Dalton moderated the panel, which included James Love, Director, Consumer Project on Technology; Dr. Krisana Kraisintu, Director, Thailand’s Research & Development Institute Government Pharmaceutical Organization; and Lita Nelsen, Director, MIT Technology Licensing Office. Yale Law & Technology Society assisted financially to make the second panel possible.

Fall Workshop. Access to Essential Medicines: Universities’ Roles in the International Patenting Regime (September 25, 2002). With funding from the Center for Interdisciplinary Research on AIDS and the Center for the Study of Globalization, the Yale AIDS Network organized a fall workshop to try to identify steps that universities can take to promote global access to essential medicines (using HIV/AIDS drugs as the model) developed in the course of academic research. An extensive report was generated by the workshop and several commentaries emanating from the event are being published this spring in the Yale Journal of Health Policy, Law, and Ethics. The workshop served as a starting point for developing a model code of practice to guide universities in the patenting and licensing of research innovations. We have continued to make substantial progress on these issues over the course of the year.

Spring Student Workshop. Universities Allied for Access to Essential Medicines (April 18, 2003). Along with the support of CIRA and the Yale Center for Globalization Studies, this spring we held a special day-long workshop entitled, “University Research and Access to Medicines: Brining the Lesson of the AIDS Pandemic Home.” The objective was to bring together students and members of universities communities to discuss how universities currently make IP decisions, how these decisions are affecting or may affect access to medical technologies in developing countries, and how we can encourage universities to adopt IP policies and practices that will promote access. Representatives (including experts and activities) from Harvard, MIT, Columbia, Dartmouth, Oxford, McGill, University of Pennsylvania, and Johns Hopkins attended. As a result of the workshop, an important inter-university activist network has been established that will continue to work over the summer and next year on concrete steps to facilitate access promotion in universities’ technology transfer policies.

Highlights from 2001-2002

Panel Discussion. Taking on a Pandemic: Responses to the Global AIDS Crisis – Coordinated with RebLaw and the Yale Human Rights and Development Law Journal, this panel brought the following academics and activists to Yale to discuss the link between public health and human rights law: Zita Lazzarini – University of CT Health Center and School of Law, Ashok Rau – Freedom Foundation of India, Eric Sawyer – ACT-UP and Health GAP

Events during the week of World AIDS Day: A viewing of a video documenting the work of the Treatment Action Campaign (South Africa); Discussion panels with faculty.

Talks. Frans Viljoen, a preeminent AIDS lawyer in South Africa (from the University of Pretoria’s Centre for the Study of AIDS in Africa). Stella Iwuagwu, director of the Centre for the Right to Health in Nigeria