MCC yet to take action over claimed HIV immune booster

2010-07-07 00:00

THE Medicines Control Council (MCC) has taken no action against Zebulon Gwala, the manufacturer of uBhejane.

Gwala has been claiming that the uBhejane mixture is registered with the MCC.

He is selling the mixture as an immune booster for patients with HIV and Aids.

Gwala has told The Witness that uBhejane underwent a clinical study which lasted for less than 12 months because he ran out of funds.

He said the tests done during that period indicate that uBhejane increases the CD4 antibodies count in patients’ blood, reduces the viral load and reverses the virus to the point where it is not detectable.

The South African National Clinical Trial Register requires that new medicines or devices are studied extensively over a lengthy period, in the laboratory and on various animals, to establish its initial safety and efficacy.

Testing of medicines on people takes place only once it has been tested thoroughly in the laboratory on animals.

New drugs, vaccines and medical devices are tested in four phases before being tested on humans.

Each phase has specific purposes and the potential for benefits, risks and harm may vary with each phase.

Last week the Treatment Action Campaign (TAC) called on the Health Department’s law enforcement unit to investigate Gwala for his repeated claims, but the unit has not responded.

The TAC said it believes that Gwala has acted in breach of the Medicines Act and that he should be charged.

For the first time since The Witness reported on Gwala’s claims last month, MCC registrar Mandisa Hela commented that anyone who says the mixture is registered is lying.

Asked what action the council takes when someone makes such claims as Gwala has, Hela said inspectors from the council are sent to investigate the premises of the culprit for evidence.

In Gwala’s case, inspectors were sent to his place on Friday.

“We caution people who make false claims about the council. If the people continue making the claims, the matter is reported to the police,” Hela added.

She declined to say why the council is taking so long to act in Gwala’s case.

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