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Press Release
Abbott Drug Pricing Condemned by AIDS Advocates in International Protests
In Coordinated Actions Wednesday, Protesters in Mexico, Colombia and the U.S. Demand That Abbott Lowers the Price of Its Key AIDS Drug Kaletra; Advocates Otherwise Vow to Seek Compulsory Licenses in Colombia and Mexico; In U.S., AHF to Also Premiere 60-Second Video Parody Blasting Abbott and CEO Miles White on YouTube and Place Spot as TV Commercial on Select Chicago-Area Television Stations

January 27, 2009

Chicago -- As part of an ongoing multinational campaign to lower drug prices and improve access to lifesaving AIDS treatments globally, AIDS advocates from three countries -- Colombia, Mexico and the United States -- are holding simultaneous protests today in each of the three countries targeting Chicago-based pharmaceutical giant Abbott Laboratories over the pricing of its AIDS drug, Kaletra, which can be a key component of lifesaving AIDS drug treatment regimens, particularly as part of what are known as "second-line" treatments and salvage therapy.

Advocates from AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF), the group coordinating the U.S. protest in the Chicago area (which is being supported by local student activists who have been involved in the AIDS drug pricing issue) will also release a sixty second video parody lambasting Abbott and its CEO, Miles D. White over the drug giant's continuing coldhearted actions on the pricing of its key AIDS drugs. The video parody will premiere publicly for the first time when it is posted on YouTube Wednesday in conjunction with the coordinated international protests in the three countries. The spot will then also run as a paid television commercial on select Chicago area television stations. Link to a preview of the video parody:

www.youtube.com/watch?v=6cJXSKIDcNU

"People may not be aware that Abbott is abusing NAFTA's patent protections to charge five times as much for Kaletra in Mexico as it does in other middle-income countries, keeping this lifesaving drug out of reach for nearly all those living with HIV/AIDS in Mexico," said Michael Weinstein, AIDS Healthcare Foundation President. "We hope these simultaneous international protests in Mexico, Colombia and the U.S. will help bring about an end to Abbott's price-gouging policies in Mexico and Colombia that shamefully continue to place profits ahead of saving lives."

"Many patients living here in Mexico depend on access to drugs such as Kaletra that are available elsewhere at a much, much lower cost," said Patricia Campos, M.D., AIDS Healthcare Foundation's Latin America Bureau Chief, who is based in Mexico and is a principal coordinator of today's Abbott protest in Mexico City. "We are strongly urging Abbott to immediately lower the price of Kaletra in Mexico to equal the price offered to Brazil in order to ensure that people in need in Mexico are not priced out of such potential lifesaving AIDS treatments."

"Through these coordinated, grassroots international protests today, we want to loudly and clearly remind Abbott, its employees and the general public that the lives of people living with -- and dying from -- HIV/AIDS in Mexico and Colombia are just as important as those of people living with AIDS here in the United States. As a result, we are asking Abbott to reduce the price of Kaletra in those two countries," said Terri Ford, Director of Global Advocacy for AIDS Healthcare Foundation. "We literally want to bring this message home to Abbott and its executives. That is why our Chicago protest is taking place in front of the Lake Forrest home of Abbott CEO Miles D. White."

Abbott has long been the target of multinational protests and legal actions over the pricing of its AIDS drugs including Kaletra and Norvir. Over the past several years as many of Abbott's industry peers have significantly lowered the prices of their own lifesaving AIDS medicines on their own volition and in response to worldwide humanitarian need, Abbott has remained steadfast in its refusal to do so, or it has countered advocates' and governments' demands with only modest price reductions.

According to the website, www.aidsmeds.com, "Kaletra, a protease inhibitor (sold under the brand name Aluvia in some parts of the world), is actually two drugs combined into a single capsule: lopinavir and low doses of ritonavir (Norvir), another protease inhibitor manufactured by Abbott Laboratories. This is because ritonavir increases the amount of lopinavir in the blood, thus making it more effective against HIV."


Abbott Laboratories and Kaletra


Kaletra in Mexico


Kaletra in Colombia


Post-Protest Press Conference & Teleconference Call -- Chicago

What: Follow Up POST-PROTEST Press Teleconference Call --
Multinational Protests re: Abbott Laboratories' AIDS Drug Pricing, Release of Parody Video
Where: Hotel Allegro, Cinema Room #1 (3rd Floor) 171 W Randolph St, Chicago IL 60601
When: 1:00 PM (Central & Mexico Time, 2:00pm Colombia time) -- Wednesday, January 28th
How: Teleconference Dial in information
U.S. Callers
+1.877.411.9748 participant code #7931503
International Toll Callers
+.1.636.651.3128 participant code #7931503


Abbott Protest Schedules/Locations -- U.S., Mexico & Colombia




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