Several ACT UP Activists Arrested in New York During Protest Against GlaxoSmithKline
With signs that read "Greed Costs Lives. Pills Cost Pennies," activists from local New York chapters of ACT UP protested outside GlaxoSmithKline's New York City office yesterday, saying the pharmaceutical company is "inhibiting the flow" of AIDS medications to Africa, Newsday reports (Robin, Newsday, 2/21). About 30 protesters participated by throwing empty pill bottles and chanting outside the building and in the lobby, and some chained themselves to desks inside the company's office. Reuters reports that six of the activists were arrested (Reuters, 2/20). Newsday lists the number of arrests at five, reporting that the protestors were charged with criminal trespassing, criminal mischief and resisting arrest. Mark Milano of ACT UP said, "The company has one priority: its shareholders and its quarterly reports. One million people died of AIDS each quarter while the company continued its deadly campaign against generic drug access." In addition, the group says GlaxoSmithKline has "stonewalled" attempts to produce generic AIDS medication. The protest was timed to coincide with yesterday's expected release of GlaxoSmithKline's annual report. Mary Anne Rhyne, a spokesperson for GlaxoSmithKline, said one of the firm's goals is to "continue and even strengthen our commitment to expand our access to medicines in the developing world." She added, "We've been doing that for quite some time. We have a longstanding commitment to fighting a large number of problems in the developing world" (Newsday, 2/21).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.