[DEBATE] : Roche's structural violence against PLW HIV/AIDS in Korea
b.miles.teg at gmail.com
Tue Oct 7 15:16:36 BST 2008
A repeat of the South African case - except not a compulsory license in
sight... hey wait a minute that is much like South Africa... so what
exactly did Erwin and DOH do about this... Ahh yes they left Big Pharma
and went after the small corner shop pharmacist...
If you're HIV positive in the US, and have become resistant to all first
and second line treatment, most of the time you have access to Fuzeon, a
critical last-line HIV medication. But if you live in Korea, you cannot
get access and will likely die. Roche, the maker of Fuzeon, has refused
to sell Fuzeon to the Korean government for a reasonable rate, and
Korean people with HIV are at risk as a result.
Korean activists have asked for our support in calling for Roche to drop
the price of Fuzeon. Can you send an email to Roche's CEO and tell him
to drop the price of Fuzeon? Here's the link:
Next week, US activists will be holding protests across the US at Roche
offices. And Korean and French activists will also be protesting Roche
and calling for them to drop the price of Fuzeon. By combining our
efforts together across the globe, we can force Roche to drop the price
of Fuzeon. Please take two minutes to click this link and send this very
If you'd like more information, pasted below is the call to action from
Korean activists, as well as the press release put out by ACT UP Paris
Please take a moment to send this email.
* ACT UP Philadelphia, ACT UP/NY, American Medical Student
Association, Health GAP and the Student Global AIDS Campaign
Calling for the Global Action Week Against Roche!
Korean patients and activists are calling for "The Global Action Week
Against Roche 1st-7th October 2008" to urge Roche to stop abuse their
power and threaten HIV patients, starting with October 1st, the
anniversary day of establishment of Roche.
Fuzeon is an essential drug for HIV-positive people who have tried other
anti-HIV drugs in the past and are unable to keep their viral loads
undetectable using drugs that are currently available. Korea Ministry
for Health, Welfare and Family Affairs listed Fuzeon on the price of
$18,000 a year in 2004. However the Swiss drug giant Roche claimed $
22,000 and has withheld the supply of this life saving drug in South Korea.
A marketing director of Roche Korea said in the news interview that
Roche has not supplied Fuzeon to developing countries including South
Korea because they have no ability to pay for the drug. That is to say,
Fuzeon will not be supplied for the countries who do not have enough
money to pay for. In the meeting, Mr. Urs said 'we do not business for
saving lives, but for making money. Saving lives is none of our business'.
Roche argues that the demand for $22,000 is never excessive one because
South Korea has the National Healthcare Insurance System and is
classified into high-income country by World Bank. However, it should be
noted that national healthcare system is currently under threat from
multinational drug companies. Aggressive drug pricing policy by
pharmaceutical companies is threatening not only developing countries
but developed countries.
Most developed countries have national healthcare system, but now it is
shrinking from the multinational drug companies and FTAs. For instance,
Korea-U.S. FTA makes it very difficult to issue 'compulsory licensing'
which enables people to control drugs and undermines people's access to
medicine by introducing various measures to strengthen patent and
intellectual property protections on medicine. In this way, the national
healthcare system even in the developed countries is rapidly changing
and the burden of expensive medicine price now affects the people.
Big pharmaceutical companies often argue that the problem of 'access to
medicine' can be solved by charity and mercy to developing countries.
However, the exact point is not 'access to medicine for poor' but
'access to medicine for all'. In addition, it should be emphasized that
people's struggle to access the 3rd line therapy is also very important.
Because we believe that any patient has a right to access the most
suitable and affordable medicine for oneself.
We believe that our struggle is your struggle and can be extended to the
campaign against the aggressive drug pricing policy of big
pharmaceutical companies and drug monopoly across the world.
What you can do
Therefore we are calling upon people to take action around the world.
First, we are inviting you to sign-on the letter to urge Roche to desist
from jeopardizing the lives of HIV patients. If you would like to sign
on, please send your organization's name or your name and city/state
where you live or work to <naengee at hotmail.com
<http://firstname.lastname@example.org> >. The deadline for sign-on is September
29, 2008.(the deadline has been extended)
Second, we are calling for organizing every possible form of protest
such as picketing, press conference and demonstration from October 1st
to 7th. Please be sure to send any information to <naengee at hotmail.com
<http://email@example.com> > so as to share news about your plans.
Press release - september 29th
South Korean activists and the international HIV/aids community are
calling for a Global Week of Action against Roche (OCTOBER 1st-7th)
ROCHE PHARMA IN SOUTH KOREA
If you have a monopoly, no need to be human.
As Roche holds a patent it enjoys a monopoly on the HIV/AIDS drug
Fuzeon. In South Korea, Roche chooses to withhold a drug to patients in
critical need then cut its price. Big pharma greed is limitless and
The Korean Ministry for Health listed Fuzeon -- an HIV/AIDS drug used in
case of treatment failure -- at the price of $18,000 a year in 2004.
However the Swiss drug giant Roche wanted $22,000 for the drug and,
since the government did not want to accept this price, withheld the
supply of this life saving drug in South Korea. A marketing director for
Roche Korea declared in a news interview that Roche will not supply
Fuzeon to developing countries including South Korea because these
countries have no ability to pay for the drug.
Moreover, The president of Roche Korea Mr. Urs added : 'We do not
business for saving lives, but for making money. Saving lives is none of
Roche argues that the demand for $22,000 is not excessive because South
Korea has a National Healthcare Insurance System and is classified as a
high-income country by World Bank. Roche charges this same price both in
the United States - where GDP per capita is $46,000 - and in a
developing country like South Korea, where GDP per capita is $19,400.
The sell of the Fuzeon netted $266,8 millions in sales in 2007. There is
no excuse for Roche's behavior, the company is acting out of greed and
costing HIV patients their lives.
Moreover, Roche pharma announced last July that it has suspended its
researches in the HIV/aids. It seems that the sales were not profitable
enough for the Swiss giant pharma Roche.
To react to this new infamy of big pharma, Korean patients and activists
are calling for 'The Global Action Week Against Roche' to urge Roche to
stop abusing their power and threatening HIV patients, starting on
Roche's greed must be sanctioned; Korea must issue compulsory licensing
to overcome the patent (and enable lower prices).
As people living with AIDS, fighting for our lives, we, South Korean and
international HIV/AIDS activists call on all people across the world, to
join the South Korean campaign against Roche's aggressive drug pricing
policies (oct 1-7 2008).
COMPULSORY LICENCING = LIFE
South Korea :
Korea HIV/AIDS Network of Solidarity , Nanuri+, HIV/AIDS Human Rights
Advocacy Group of KoreaHYPERLINK "genuineok at hanmail.net
<http://firstname.lastname@example.org> ", <mailto:genuineok at hanmail.net> Public
Pharmaceutical Center, Solidarity for Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender
Human Rights of Korea, Korean Gay Men's Human Rights Group, Sarangbang,
Group for Human Rights, Health Right Network, Korean Federation of
Medical Groups for Health Rights, Association of Korea Doctors for
Health Rights, Association of Physicians for Humanism, Korea Dentists
Association for Health Society, Korea Health and Medical Workers Union,
Korean Pharmacists for Democratic Society,People's Solidarity for Social
Progress, Intellectual Property Left, Korean Progressive Network
Jinbonet, Korea Leukemia Patient Group, New Progressive Party, Love4one
(for people PWLH group), NNHAP (Nopi Narara Aids Positive), Democratic
Labor Party, Sexual Minority Committee of the Democratic Laber Party
United States : ACT UP-Philadelphia, American Medical Student
Association, Health GAP, Knowledge Ecology International
France : Act Up-Paris, Aides, Avocats pour la santé dans le Monde,
Coalition PLUS, Solidarité Sida
Marocco : ALCS Maroc
Switzerland : Global Health Advocates
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