Sue Johnson at A2M round table January 2018
Sue Johnson at A2M round table January 2018

“I remember that day very well, when everything changed: one day I had the support of the MCC and was able to import my medication from India. The next day the MCC took away my authorisation and my right to access generic medication. The registration of the patented product changed everything for me with just the stroke of a pen. Overnight I could no longer afford the treatment I needed to live.  – Sue Johnson”

Sue Johnson was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2008 and with Multiple Myeloma in 2014. While she was initially able to access a generic lenalidomide treatment from India on a Section 21 authorisation from the Medicines Control Council at a price of about R5000 per month, this was revoked in 2016 when the originator product from Celgene, Revlimid, was registered in South Africa, at a cost of R882 000 per year.

Sue died on 16th May 2018.

Multiple Myeloma and Lenalidomide Fact Sheet - January 2019

The Cancer Alliance Fact Sheet Multiple Myeloma, with a look at Lenalidomide Access in South Africa covers the following sections:

Multiple Myeloma in South Africa

  • Aetiology
  • Symptoms of the disease
  • Causes
  • Risk Factors
  • Diagnosis
  • Treatment
  • Treating complications
  • Alternative medicines

Lenalidomide Access Challenges in South Africa

  • How Celgene acquired a monopoly on Lenalidomide
  • What about Thalidomide?
  • In loving memory of Sue Johnson
  • Methodology & Disclaimer for this study
  • Detailed record of all Lenalidomide patents in South Africa


Return to Access to Medicine (A2M) Campaign