Big Pharma Greed Kills Women!

Tomorrow more than 50 women living with cancer will join 500+ activists from the Treatment Action Campaign, Cancer Alliance, SECTION27, MSF, and other members of the Fix the Patent Laws coalition at a picket outside pharmaceutical company Roche. We will be highlighting our ongoing concerns over the excessive price of breast cancer medicine trastuzumab.

The picket will be in memory of Tobeka Daki. An activist who had been leading this call in 2016 but who sadly passed away without ever getting the chance to access trastuzumab.

In South Africa Roche holds multiple patents on trastuzumab (Herceptin) that may block more affordable biosimilars coming to market until 2033. Currently it costs around ZAR 211,920 for a year’s treatment course in the public sector and is only available in very limited circumstances. It is excluded from prescribed minimum benefits of private medical schemes because of the cost. Other developing countries face similar problems in accessing affordable trastuzumab.

In other parts of the world where the patents have expired, Roche is using different means to block access including litigating against biosimilar versions.

We stand with women with breast cancer and activists across the world to say “Roche Greed Kills”.


WHERE: 24 Fricker Road, Illovo, Sandton, Johannesburg
WHEN: Tuesday 7th February, 10h30 13h00

For more information or to arrange interviews contact
Lotti Rutter | Treatment Action Campaign | +27 81 818 8493 |
Catherine Tomlinson | Cancer Alliance | +27 76 318 5632 |


Fix the Patent Laws is a campaign of the Treatment Action Campaign (TAC). TAC is a non-profit organisation that seeks to ensure that every person living with HIV has access to quality, comprehensive prevention and treatment services to live a healthy life. Through this blog we will highlight how amending South Africa’s Patents Act 57 of 1978 will reduce the cost of medicines, improving the health and saving the lives of millions of South Africans.