Cabinet commends SA-Novartis deal

Pretoria � Cabinet has welcomed the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) signed between Novartis, the South African Medical Research Council (MRC) and the Department of Science and Technology to boost the volume and quality of clinical trials.

The agreement will allow for joint research programmes in selected communicable and non-communicable diseases, improve South African patients' access to innovative medicines, and build the country and continent's research and development capabilities.

The MOU was inked in May in Cape Town.

Cabinet believes that there is room for more public-private partnerships and is convinced that these can lead the way in addressing the many pressing challenges we face, Cabinet said in a statement on Thursday.

At the time of signing of the agreement, the Department of Science and Technology said the MOU will be implemented within the framework of the Strategic Health Innovation Partnerships (SHIP).

Science and Technology Minister Naledi Pandor said the agreement would build research capability on the continent.

"South Africa has a significant burden of disease, which has a major impact on mortality and health sector spending. The quadruple burden of HIV, TB, non-communicable diseases and injuries must be addressed to improve the health of our society," said the Minister.

SHIP is the Department of Science and Technology's project implemented by the MRC to coordinate the development of new or adapt existing drugs, vaccines and other biologicals, diagnostics and medical devices for priority diseases or medical conditions in South Africa.

Source: South African Government News Agency

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