Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Corporate greed kills patients

Deliberately inflammatory title, I know. But most people with HIV/AIDS in most of the world cannot afford treatment and those who can access it are kept alive by cheap generic medicines. Having been beaten by the courts in South Africa 5 years ago, Novartis, one of the multinational pharmaceutical companies, is taking the Indian government to court to try to change existing patent laws. This would mean skyrocketing treatment costs, loss of access to drugs for those who need them, and thousands of unnecessary deaths.

And don't even get me started on R&D costs. Novartis made a gross profit of 23.7 billion US dollars in 2005, of which it spent 4.8 billion on R&D - mostly in West-oriented drugs like anticholesterol and niche anticancer therapies: the total R&D cost being half of what it spent on marketing. It's not exactly ploughing money into a noble quest to benefit mankind.

So - please, go to and sign their petition. Thousands of people will thank you.