Map of life expectancy at birth from Global Education Project.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012


No, they didn't actually pay me for these. First, from the HIV Prevention Justice Alliance:

Novartis, the Swiss-based pharmaceutical giant, continues its assault on India's generic pharmaceutical industry - legally challenging India's patent law that allows the nation to supply nearly 80% of the developing world's access to high-quality, affordable, life-saving medications.

India's patent law effectively stops evergreening, a tactic used by pharmaceutical companies to make minor tweaks on medications to extend their stranglehold on a patent that is about to expire.

Should Novartis succeed on March 28th, a dangerous precedent will be set...

With a chain-reaction of serious consequences.

The costs?

Crippling the generic pharmaceutical industry

Making essential medications even more cost-prohibitive

Cutting off the supply of medications used by NGO's worldwide

Millions of lives that are dependent on these drugs to fight diseases like HIV/AIDS.

Say NO to Novartis

Send the message to Novartis that no loss of human life can ever be tolerated for profits, by signing a petition here.

Learn more on how to Occupy Pharma by joining our working group.

Rather shrill, aren't they? I also got this:


19 March 2012 202.408.5565


Washington, D.C. – Today, Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW), the National Legislative Association on Prescription Drug Prices (NLARx), the Campaign for America's Future (CAF), and the U.S. Public Interest Research Group (U.S. PIRG) called on the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) to immediately investigate the vaccine bundling practices of Sanofi Pasteur and Merck, which make it harder for pediatricians to use the best vaccines for children. Sanofi and Merck force pediatricians to buy vaccines in a bundle at a discount, or pay exorbitantly high prices to purchase vaccines individually. As a result, some children may not receive the vaccines most suitable for them.

CREW Executive Director Melanie Sloan stated, “When parents take their kids to the doctor, they expect the best medical care available, not the care dictated by drug companies seeking to maximize their profits. Basically, doctors are asked to make a choice they can’t refuse.”

CREW first wrote to the FTC about this issue in 2010, but a whistleblower has now provided new details about the practice. Vaccine discounts are conditioned on an express agreement that healthcare groups will purchase only a particular company’s vaccines. If any member of the practice fails to comply with this exclusivity requirement, the entire practice loses the discounts. These exclusivity contracts deprive consumers of the best healthcare, suppress competition, and prevent new and potentially more effective vaccines from entering the market.

This has real world consequences. For example, pediatricians who agree to purchase vaccines from Merck cannot offer their patients Cervarix, which is produced by GlaxoSmithKline, and is more effective than the better known Gardasil, produced by Merck, at protecting against the human papillomavirus. A meningitis vaccine studies indicate is more effective for certain patients similarly is unavailable.

Sloan continued, “Parents assume doctors are making drug decisions based on the patient, but in fact, they are making decisions based on the price. That will be cold comfort to a young woman who discovers she might have avoided cervical cancer if only she’d received the right vaccine as a girl.”

Click here to read this release on CREW’s website.

Click here to read the letter to the FTC.

Also shrill. The pharmaceutical industry giveth -- no antiretroviral medications and vaccines without them -- but it wants to taketh away far too much in exchange.


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