Oxfam and the Campaign to Bring Affordable HIV Treatment to South Africa

Published 10 Jan 2003
Reference 5127
Region Global
Summary

The objective of this teaching case is to place students in the complex moral and legal environment of AIDS in South Africa. During the 1990s, South Africa, along with many other developing countries, agreed to accept World Trade Organization disciplines with respect to trade in intellectual property – the so-called TRIPS agreement. In 1997, however, the South African Government passed a new Medicines Act, which a group of pharmaceutical companies argued was in violation of South African patent laws and of the TRIPS accord. The lawsuit was quickly attacked by such leading non-governmental organizations as Oxfam. This case forces students to address pharmaceutical company policy in the face of the AIDS pandemic.

Teaching objectives

By using this case, business students will grapple with some of the most complex issues of corporate social responsibility that they could confront during their professional careers. Students will also learn to appreciate the perspectives of different ?stakeholders? including governments and non-governmental organizations. By addressing the problem of AIDS in South Africa, students will gain a deeper understanding of the social environment they could confront as their companies engage in business in the developing world context.

Keywords
  • AR2003
  • RD0903
  • AIDS
  • CORPORATE SOCIAL RESPONSIBILITY
  • PHARMACEUTICALS
  • PATENTS
  • NON-GOVERNMENTAL ORGANISATIONS
  • NGOS
  • AR0304