South Africa: GlaxoSmithKline faces new complaint
Date: 28 Jan 2003
The largest AIDS organisation in the US, the AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF), has filed a complaint with the South African Competition Commission against pharmaceutical giant GlaxoSmithKline seeking to enable licensing generic alternatives for lower prices.
Michael Weinstein, AHF's president, accused GSK of having a "stranglehold" on key AIDS drug patents, granting them the ability to set monopoly pricing, leading to thousands of deaths. "Glaxo fiddles while South Africa burns," he said.
AHF's complaint seeks to obtain licensing and manufacturing concessions in South Africa for medications such as zidovudine (AZT), lamivudine, Abacavir, and Combivir and Trizivir - Glaxo's best selling combination drugs.
The current complaint is not the first AHF has made against GSK. In response to former litigation that used some of the same arguments, the company responded:
"Free competition eliminates the possibility of monopoly. Today, there are about 20 HIV/AIDS medicines on the market, and a number of medicines in each class from which physicians can choose to treat their patients.
"The prices GSK charges for its AIDS medicines in the US are well within the range of competitive products, and GSK has been a leader in reducing the price of medicines to developing countries."
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