- New York City, May 31, 2016 - Today, ACT UP New York (AIDS Coalition To Unleash Power) will be rallying outside Sec. Clinton’s fundraiser at the Sheraton Hotel at 811 7th Avenue and 53rd street from 4:30-6:00PM.
Earlier this month, Presidential Candidate Hillary Clinton met with a coalition of AIDS activists, including members of ACT UP, and pledged to work to end the epidemic spread of HIV/AIDS in the US and internationally. These important goals need to be met, and there need to be more effective financial and healthcare delivery mechanisms to ensure that they are met. While Clinton as Secretary of State called for an AIDS free generation in 2012 on behalf of the Obama Administration, progress has been too slow.
Currently 50,000 people in the US are infected with HIV annually and more than 1.4 million live with the disease. Improvement of the healthcare infrastructure is necessary to implement the new use of expanded access to HIV prevention drugs and to insure that every person that has HIV/AIDS has the ability to get treatment. Currently only 37% of those with HIV in the US are on treatment.
ACT UP/NY has promoted the following mechanisms for years that could achieve those goals. We urge that Candidate Clinton vigorously support the following:
Universal Single-Payer Healthcare needs to be implemented in the US to ensure everyone is covered from birth to death and to help contain prices for healthcare. It would enable preventive HIV treatments like Truvada to be affordable and available to all who need it and HIV/AIDS therapies to be more accessible. Many people with HIV are co-infected with Hepatitis C virus which imperils their health. We need a single-payer healthcare system that can effectively bargain for fair prices for Hepatitis C drugs and all drugs for the entire population.
Robin Hood Tax to Fight AIDS and for Social Goods: Globally 21.5 Million people need treatment. One of the main blocks to this is that international funding mechanisms for the Global Fund to End AIDS are inadequate. Bilateral aid programs like PEPFAR do not make up the difference. Whoever is elected President needs to push for a financial mechanism to fulfill this need. ACT UP supports the use of a small 0.5% tax on all Wall Street trades to generate hundreds of billions of dollars to be put into social needs, like full funding for Global AIDS, combatting climate change and creating full employment
ACT UP and Other Health Activists Rally Against High Drug Prices
NY – Last Thursday, April Fools Day eve, the Washington Post (see reprint) briefly reported that pharmaceutical giant Pfizer, Inc. had “vowed today to stop the time-tested habit of jacking up the list prices of its drugs each year.”
As it turned out, an ad hoc group of activists calling themselves “Nobody’s Fool,” in collaboration with the cyberspace activist group The Yes Men, created the fake press releases and websites. The content of these websites is attached.
The fake website for PhRMA Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America “announced” a Sustainable Pricing Plan for the 21st Century, an ostensible initiative establishing a new pricing model that would improve access to medications by lowering prices.
On the fake Pfizer website, the company “announced” the immediate end to price increases. Several online media outlets, including the Washington Post, fell for the prank and reported the announcements as real before the websites were shut down. Pfizer has released a statement to disregard the new drug pricing policy and its commitment to “engaging in an honest discussion” with patients about affordable medicines. The community of health activists is open to pursuing this opportunity with Pfizer to discuss improvements in the way medicines are priced so everyone can access the treatment they need.
The next day, April 1, dozens of activists from ACT UP New York and other organizations converged at the New York City headquarters of Pfizer, to demand drug pricing reforms. Activists criticized Pfizer because it:
• consistently implements price increases that far outstrip the rate of inflation;
• is engaging in a merger with Irish drug company Allergan to avoid paying
On April 1, 2016, we stand in solidarity with a coalition of over 25 health advocacy groups from 6 continents.
In New York, we target Pfizer because it is representative of the deceptive pharmaceutical industry. We are protesting against their
lies and continuous acts of financial greed in their attempts to profit from medicines at the expense patients’ lives and expanding affordable access.
- Pfizer gouges prices.In January 2016, Pfizer hiked the price of over 100 medicines, by up to 20%, including treatments for breast cancer, mental health, HIV, epilepsy, prostate cancer, pneumonia, skin and gut infections, acute myeloid leukemia, erectile dysfunction, menopause symptoms, diabetic peripheral neuropathy, fibromyalgia, and heart disease. These price increases deviate from costs of inflation and regularly occur over the years.
- Pfizer lies. They claim that R&D for a medication costs over USD 1 billion dollars. Their propaganda deceives the public to justify that they deserve billions of dollars in profit in order to recoup costs. Pfizer uses millions in public fundsto develop drugs and needs to open its books to reveal the true R&D costs.
- Pfizer steals. Pfizer merged with Irish company Allergan
Press Statement For Immediate Release
Global Action Against Pharma Greed
We are not fooled: Global health activists confront pharmaceutical industry over excessive medicine prices
On 1st April 2016, activists across the world are protesting against the greed that blocks access to essential medicines.
April Fools’ Day is an appropriate day to highlight both the extortionate price of medicines and the lack of transparency around research and development (R&D) costs.
The protest is coordinated by a coalition of over 25 health advocacy groups from 6 continents. Today’s demonstrations are being held outside offices of Pfizer, Gilead, Roche, the Tufts Center for the Study of Drug Development, and the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA).
We demand an end to:
• unfair medicine pricing
• corporate tax inversion
• deception about research and development costs.
Instead, we want all countries to use public health safeguards to ensure better access to medicines and a global R&D agreement that would ensure better innovation for medicines.
“The public won’t be taken for fools by Big Pharma anymore! Martin Shkreli is not an outlier for gouging medicine prices! Together we’re standing up against the abusive practices of the global pharmaceutical industry, which continues to leave millions of people without access to the life-saving medicines they need”, said Luis Santiago from ACT UP.
Globally, more than two billion people do not have regular access to the critical medicines they need. This is one in three of the world's population. More than half of these people live in Asia and Africa. Every year, 10 million people die from diseases because access to effective treatments is blocked by drug pricing.
One reason for this is the high cost of medicines under patent protection. Another is a refusal to see diseases like HIV in the context of poverty, malnutrition, and other material factors. There is no such thing as an epidemic that occurs independently of social problems around it.
The pharmaceutical industry justifies high prices by claiming