Health activists have called for greater transparency from the pharmaceutical industry, as a meeting on medicine prices convened by the World Health Organisation (WHO), gets under way in Johannesburg. The three-day Fair Pricing Forum, which the WHO is jointly hosting with the government, is looking at how to balance the needs of the pharmaceutical industry and the health systems that pay for their drugs. A coalition of 64 civil society organisations issued a joint statement on Thursday calling for greater transparency on medicine prices, and the research and development costs incurred by pharmaceutical companies. The coalition includes the Fix the Patent Laws campaign, which consists of 42 South African civil society organisations including Section 27, the Treatment Action Campaign, the Cancer Alliance, and Doctors without Borders (MSF). “The system lets them [pharmaceutical companies] hide what countries pay, and it allows them to charge what they want,” said MSF advocacy officer ...

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