The Guardian June 28, 2000


South Africans picket drug company

A picket, in front of the office of the transnational drug company, 
Pfizer in Pietermaritzburg in the South African province of KwaZulu Natal 
on June 20, was organised by the Treatment Action Campaign to protest 
Pfizer's action over the AIDS treatment drug fluconazole. Pfizer offered to 
donate fluconazole free of charge to people with HIV/AIDS in South Africa. 


But HIV/AIDS activists have learnt that Pfizer will limit their donation to 
a period of two and a half years  the exact period when their fluconazole 
patent or exclusive licence to sell will expire  and that Pfizer will 
refuse to include countries other than South Africa in the offer.

In a statement supporting the picket the South African Communist Party said 
that. "It was hoped that the drug company had learned that people's lives 
were more important than profits. By doing this [limiting the offer], 
Pfizer is condemning countless people to suffering and possible death 
because they cannot afford the unreasonable price that the company is 
putting on the drug.

"HIV has led to the premature death of more than 10 million people across 
the world. Access to treatment is essential in order to save lives. We urge 
the Minister of Health to continue the negotiations to accept the Pfizer 
donation because it will help save lives, while all of us engage in mass 
action to make Pfizer see reason and win affordable HIV/AIDS treatment for 
all."

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