California Committee Passes Resolution Calling on Pension Shareholders To Urge Drug Companies To Make AIDS Drugs Affordable, Available
The California Senate Public Employee Retirement System Committee approved 3-2 a concurrent resolution (SCR 11) that would "encourage" the state's public pension systems, including CalPERS, to use shareholder resolutions to influence pharmaceutical companies that develop HIV/AIDS medicines, such as GlaxoSmithKline, to "ensure their life-saving HIV/AIDS treatments are made affordable in Africa and the developing world," according to an AIDS Healthcare Foundation release. CalPERS is believed to hold roughly $760 million shares of GlaxoSmithKline, according to the release (AHF release, 4/7). The resolution, introduced by Sen. Nell Soto (D), would encourage the governing bodies of public pension and retirement systems in the state to introduce as shareholders of HIV/AIDS drug makers resolutions to develop and implement policies, in consultation with the appropriate United Nations agencies and independent nongovernmental organizations, to provide antiretroviral drug treatments "in a manner that would make those treatments affordable to the majority of those infected with HIV/AIDS in lesser developed countries." The Senate also called for a copy of the resolution to be given to each member of the retirement board (SCR 11 text, 4/8). Soto said, "The cost of HIV/AIDS medications is out of the reach of many, especially in the developing world," adding that the resolution "asks CalPERS to use its considerable clout to help put these helpful drugs within their reach. It's about time we did something" (AHF release, 4/7).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.