THE Medicines Control Council must "do its job and stop fake doctors", the DA said yesterday.
The MCC was mandated by law to protect South Africans from fake doctors who claimed they could cure Aids, cancer and other conditions with medicines that had not been proven in any way to work, DA spokesperson Mike Waters said in a statement.
"It has a directorate of law enforcement specifically so that it can carry out this mandate, yet it is failing completely to do its job."
The DA, he said, intended to ask detailed parliamentary questions about what the MCC's law enforcement division had done to stop the flood of fraudsters from dispensing medicine and trying to trick South Africans out of their money.
One Rudi Boshoff had attracted media attention recently for adverts he placed in Die Burger newspaper referring to himself as "Dr" and claiming to be able to cure thousands of diseases by using a "miracle machine" and various medicines.
The newspaper had since revealed that Boshoff was not registered with the Health Professions Council of SA or the Allied Health Professions Council of SA.
"But Boshoff is only one of countless people who make these claims on street corners and in newspapers across the country every day.
"These bogus doctors can freely act in direct contravention of the law, even advertising their products in national newspapers," Waters said.
He said HIV-Aids was a specific focus of these fraudsters because of the atmosphere of suspicion of conventional therapies created by former health minister Manto Tshabalala-Msimang, and because there were hundreds of thousands of people infected with HIV and desperate for answers.
The Medicines and Related Substances Control Act was clear that the MCC was responsible for ensuring that "no person shall compound or dispense a medicine unless he or she is authorised thereto in terms of the Pharmacy Act, 1974, or is the holder of a licence as contemplated in subsection (1)(a)".
"While any act of fraud is despicable, it is particularly repulsive when it involves taking advantage of people who are ill, and potentially discouraging them from taking treatments that would actually help them," Waters said.
He said the days of Aids dissidence were now gone, but it seemed that the MCC had not caught up with the change in the political environment.
He said the DA would therefore take this matter further to ensure that the MCC protected the public from bogus doctors. - Sapa