The coalition, led by the Health GAP Coalition, Treatment Action Group (TAG), and Gay Men's Health Crisis (GMHC), took this action because in November 2000, Glaxo threatened to sue Cipla Ltd. of India, a generic pharmaceutical manufacturer, if Cipla continued to sell its generic drug Duovir, a combination of the AIDS drugs AZT and 3TC (marketed by Glaxo as Combivir).
In addition, Glaxo has joined forty other drug companies in suing the South African government for a 1997 law intended to broaden access to cheap generic drugs in South Africa.
The activists wrote, "We believe that threatening lawsuits to prevent people in poor countries -- already staggering under the weight of the AIDS pandemic, excessive debt to western banks, poverty, and underdevelopment -- from accessing life-saving antiretroviral medications is simply unacceptable from a moral and humanitarian point of view."
Instead, the activists suggested that Glaxo:
TAG Senior Policy Director Mark Harrington said, "We are announcing today a Global Day of Solidarity on March 5, the day when the Pharmaceutical Manufacturers Association of South Africa's lawsuit against legal generic drug access comes before the court in South Africa. On that day, some groups will take direct action against drug companies, pharmaceutical trade organizations, or the U.S. Trade Representative, which has just brought action against Brazil for manufacturing generic antiretrovirals. The program in Brazil is reaching over 85,000 people with AIDS and has saved thousands of lives. No other program -- whether the UNAIDS Accelerating Access initiative or the much-touted, but so far insignificant, discounts announced by five big drug companies last May -- is reaching significant numbers of people with HIV in the world's poorest countries."
The March 5 Global Day of Solidarity was initiated by South Africa's Treatment Action Campaign (TAC), a grassroots advocacy organization which has been struggling to make anti-AIDS drugs available to South Africa's estimated 4.2 million people living with HIV.
Back to the TAGline March 2001 contents page.