Calif. Legislature Asks Pension Shareholders To Urge Companies To Make AIDS Drugs Affordable, Available in Developing Countries
The California Legislature on Thursday passed 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 to "ensure their life-saving HIV/AIDS treatments are made affordable in Africa and the developing world," according to an AIDS Healthcare Foundation release (AHF release, 8/21). CalPERS is believed to hold roughly $760 million shares of drug maker GlaxoSmithKline, which manufactures several antiretroviral drugs. The resolution, introduced by Sen. Nell Soto (D), will encourage the governing bodies of the state's public pension and retirement systems 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" (Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report, 4/9). "The cost of HIV/AIDS medications is out of the reach of many, especially in the developing world," Soto said, adding, "My resolution asks CalPERS to use its considerable clout to help put these helpful drugs within their reach." AHF President Michael Weinstein said, "California now stands at the forefront of the movement to reduce AIDS drug prices so that millions of people living with HIV/AIDS worldwide may live" (AHF release, 8/21).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.