Students Condemn Abbott's Refusal to Sell AIDS Drugs to Thai People - Abbott's Greed

Students Condemn Abbott's Refusal to Sell AIDS Drugs to Thai People

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Contact: Sara Renn,, 202-296-6727

March 13, 2007—The Student Global AIDS Campaign today condemned the decision by Abbott to deny people living with HIV and AIDS access to its newest AIDS drugs as yet another example of Abbott’s despicable pattern of prioritizing profit over peoples’ lives. It was announced yesterday that Abbott Laboratories is pulling the registration application for its essential drug Kaletra.

“Abbott’s actions show that the company would rather allow people to die without access to their newest AIDS medicines than share the market with generic competition,” said Matthew Rehrig, senior at University of Chicago and leader in the Student Global AIDS Campaign.

Abbott pulled the application for its new, heat-stable formulation of Kaletra, also known as Aluvia, as a response to the Thai government’s decision to issue a compulsory license for the drug. Compulsory licenses allow governments the flexibility to import and produce generic versions of essential medicines. The process falls entirely within the bounds of World Trade Organization, whose 2001 declaration on public health says that each country has the right to issue compulsory licenses, as Thailand has done, “to promote access to medicines for all.”

Abbott claims to provide prices on Kaletra that ensure access, but middle-income countries such as Thailand are faced with paying an unaffordable $2200 per patient per year for Kaletra. They show a similarly wrongheaded approach in refusing voluntary licensing to generic producers, which has historically led to tremendous drops in antiretroviral prices while still generating royalties for originating companies. Meanwhile, the company has proven to be entirely dilatory in registering the much-needed new heat-stable version of Kaletra in countries in the Global South. Withdrawing the registration application proves the company cares little for people living with AIDS.

“Abbott should dig its head out of the sand and recognize that the use of compulsory licensing is a reaction to its extortionately high prices in middle income countries,”

“The Student Global AIDS Campaign stands in solidarity with people living with AIDS in Thailand and condemns the actions of this cruel corporation,” said Erin Burns of Guilford College Student Global AIDS Campaign.

The Student Global AIDS Campaign (SGAC) is a national movement with more than 85 chapters at high schools, colleges, and universities across the United States committed to bringing an end to HIV and AIDS in the U.S. and around the world through education, informed advocacy, media work, and direct action.