South African AIDS, Labor Groups File Complaint Against Multinational Pharmaceutical Companies to Force Further Price Cuts
The Treatment Action Campaign and the Congress of South African Trade Unions yesterday filed a complaint with the South African Competition Commission, an independent body that monitors fair market competition, in an attempt to force pharmaceutical companies GlaxoSmithKline and Boehringer Ingelheim to further reduce the prices of their antiretroviral drugs, the AP/Richmond Times-Dispatch reports. The complaint calls for the companies to be "fined and ordered to change their pricing." Both companies denied that their prices are excessive, but TAC said that the current price of three-drug combination therapy - about $117 a month per person - remains prohibitive for most people in the country (AP/Richmond Times-Dispatch, 9/20). TAC Secretary Mark Heywood said that the complaint aims to have the commission declare publicly that the companies are engaging in a "prohibited practice" so that "people who suffered loss as a result of past excessive pricing" of their drugs could sue the companies for compensation. Heywood added that the excessive pricing has caused the "preventable deaths and illness of many, many thousands of people who live with HIV/AIDS in South Africa" (Agence France-Presse, 9/19).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.