Good Samaritans stepping forward - SA pharma donates chloroquine tablets for Covid-19 treatment

The coronavirus epidemic is exposing the greedy and highlighting the good in many societies. In countries where the virus is raging, people are stepping forward to volunteer. In the United Kingdom, where the outbreak shows no sign of abating; a call for 250,000 volunteers to help the country’s National Health Service led to more than 600,000 signing up. In South Africa, two billionaire families, the Ruperts and the Oppenheimers were the first to put their hands up to donate R1bn each, putting to shame other well-known British billionaires like Richard Branson, who was asking for government help for his ailing airline. And now a South African pharmaceutical company has announced that they would be donating 500,000 chloroquine phosphate tablets to the Department of Health. Contrast that to US chloroquine drugmaker, Rising Pharmaceuticals who have doubled the price of the malarial drug. Chloroquine has been used successfully in some trials to reduce the time patients spend in hospitals. The chief executive of Austell pharmaceuticals, Suhail Gani spoke to Alec Hogg on how the South African Health Product Regulatory Authority managed to approve the drug within 5 days. - Linda van Tilburg