EFF 2021 Elections Natasha Mazzone

Photo: EFF

EFF march latest: SAHPRA ‘refuse to allow politics to outweigh science’

SAHPRA said on Friday evening that they will not let political pressure from the EFF force them into forgoing their science-based rationale.

EFF 2021 Elections Natasha Mazzone

Photo: EFF

After the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) and thousands of their supporters took part in a widely-criticised mass march to the SAHPRA offices in Pretoria on Friday,  the Health Products Regulatory Authority have clapped back at the Red Berets, saying that they will not allow political pressure to derail science-based decisions. 

SAHPRA reject EFF demands 

In a statement released on Friday eveing, SAHPRA said that they will continue to operate based on their standing as an “independent, science-based entity that follows strict guidelines and processes when approving health products”. 

“SAHPRA concerns itself, like other regulators across the world, with safety, quality and efficacy of health products,” they said. 

They said that based on this principles, they reject the EFF’s demand that they open the door immediately to vaccines developed in Russia and China. “Essential requirements are consistently applied to all COVID-19 vaccines and therapeutics that SAHPRA has considered for use in the country,” they said. 

‘No vaccine favoured’

SAHPRA said that it “cannot allow political pressure to cloud a clear science-based approach to approving health products where the safety of the public could be compromised”, and said that “it will be a sad day in the country when the regulator is undermined or influenced by any party”. 

The EFF handed over a memorandum to the SAHPRA CEO on Friday once the sea of red support had made its way to the Pretoria offices, and issued the following response to their demands: 

  • SAHPRA does not favour any applicant as alleged by the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF);
  • Allegations against the SAHPRA Board Chair, Prof Helen Rees are totally unfounded and false;
  • SAHPRA, as part of its mandate, focuses on the safety and well-being of the public and no vaccine can be made available until it meets these regulatory requirements. 

Furthermore, they said that SAHPRA must take into account the local epidemiology, and specifically which SARS-CoV-2 variants concern are circulating in the country. 

“In essence, EFF wants SAHPRA to approve vaccines without adherence to the critical components of safety, quality and efficacy.”