Business organisation Sakeliga today insisted that the South African Pharmacy Council (SAPC) withdraw an instruction to its members to pledge support to the National Health Insurance (NHI) scheme.
Sakeliga’s letter to the SAPC comes after members on Monday, 15 October, started receiving letters from Amos Masango, Registrar and CEO of the SAPC. The letters brusquely instructed them to ‘Please complete the attachment to this e-mail with the words: “I, as a Pharmacy Professional, support NHI”’, and return it to Masango by no later than 25 October.
Piet le Roux, CEO of Sakeliga, says the letters amount to extracting involuntary political commitments and confessions from businesses and professionals in the pharmaceutical industry. ‘It is unacceptable for a statutory body with a monopoly on regulating access to the pharmaceutical industry to keep record of the political convictions and commitments of its members.’
Le Roux continues: ‘If the SAPC is genuinely interested in polling its members, it should do so anonymously. The fact that the SAPC requires its members to identify themselves in this process, leaves the reasonable expectation that the SAPC might use this information for unreasonable and morally unacceptable purposes in future.’
‘The precedent set here by the SAPC poses grave dangers to the freedoms and rights of businesses and professionals in any industry. We have therefore insisted with Mr Masango that the SAPC withdraw its instruction to members. In our letter to him (attached) we also warned of the complications should the SAPC fail to withdraw the instruction and we start legal proceedings to obtain all pledges received,’ concluded Le Roux.