Minister of Health and others v Treatment Action Campaign and others (No 1) 2002 (5) SA 703 (CC)

Main Issue: Right to access to health service and questions governments policy in the distribution of Nevirapine

Findings: The Constitutional Court said the question was whether the applicants had shown that the measures adopted by the government fell short of obligations under the Constitution. The Court said conducting research did not justify delaying a comprehensive programme. The policy seriously affected a significant group of HIV-positive mothers and children who did not have access to the research sites and were effectively denied access to a potentially life-saving medical intervention. The Court said provision of a single dose of nevirapine was essential as far as children were concerned. The needs of children were the most urgent and the state was obliged to ensure that children were accorded the protection contemplated by section 28 of the Bill of Rights. The Court declared the policy unconstitutional and ordered the government to remove the restrictions on nevirapine and to permit and facilitate its use where medically indicated.

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