Midrand GP fights au­thor­i­ties

COURT CASE: MALARIA CAP­SULES DE­CLARED UN­DE­SIR­ABLE BY HEALTH SEC­TOR

The Citizen (Gauteng) - - NEWS - Ilse de Lange ils­edl@cit­i­zen.co.za

Doc­tor wants court to set aside de­ci­sion and rule 2014 ar­rest un­law­ful.

AMidrand gen­eral prac­ti­tioner (GP) has taken health au­thor­i­ties to court to set aside a de­ci­sion declar­ing that their anti-malaria cap­sules, made from the plant African wood­worm, were un­de­sir­able.

An ur­gent ap­pli­ca­tion by Dr Bar­bel Zeisler and her close cor­po­ra­tion, Nord­man Nat­u­ral Ther­a­pies, against the health min­is­ter and di­rec­tor-gen­eral, the medicine con­trol coun­cil and the reg­is­trar of medicines has been post­poned in the High Court in Pre­to­ria for fur­ther court pa­pers to be filed.

Zeisler wants the court to set aside a Novem­ber 2013 de­ci­sion by the Medicine Con­trol Coun­cil to de­clare Nord­man Arteme­sia malaria cap­sules un­de­sir­able and di­rect­ing that any per­son in pos­ses­sion of the cap­sules must re­turn them to the man­u­fac­turer.

She al­leged in court pa­pers her anti-malaria cap­sules did not fall within the def­i­ni­tion of a Sched­ule 4 “medicine” in terms of the Medicines and Re­lated Sub­stances Con­trol Act and was in fact a tra­di­tional African medicine ob­tained by dry­ing and grind­ing to a pow­der the plant Arteme­sia afra (also known as African wood­worm or umhlonyane).

Zeisler in­sisted the health de­part­ment had no ju­ris­dic­tion over tra­di­tional African medicines and that the artemisinin re­flected in the medicines Act re­ferred to a man­u­fac­tured chem­i­cal sub­stance that was not iden­ti­cal to the nat­u­ral in­gre­di­ent found in the Arteme­sia afra plant.

She said her De­cem­ber 2014 ar­rest for con­tra­ven­ing the Medicines Act was un­law­ful and that threats to ar­rest those who stocked the pills was harm­ful to the reputation and rev­enue of her busi­ness.

Zeisler said she started re­search­ing tra­di­tional cures when many of her pa­tients were re­luc­tant to con­tinue with con­ven­tional anti-malaria tablets as they suf­fered from se­vere side ef­fects and th­ese drugs were not al­ways ef­fec­tive.

The reg­is­trar of medicines, Jo­hanna Gouws, said in an af­fi­davit Zeisler’s ap­pli­ca­tion would be op­posed as the 2013 de­ci­sion had been taken in the pub­lic in­ter­est. –

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