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Abbot Labs-AIDS Profiteer

  The second day of the International AIDS Conference in Vancouver (July
  8, 1996) ACT UP chapters from the United States and Europe confronted
  Abbot Laboratory in front of hundreds of  scientists, and participants
  at the conference. This is the text of the press release criticizing
  Abbot for price gouging and failure to provide people with AIDS who
  take their drug life saving information. For this reason 50 activists
  descended on their booth, applying stickers which read "AIDS
  Profiteer" and "Greed equals Death"  . We then presented them with the
  Golden Funeral Urn.
  for killer pricing policies.
  Under the garish Abbott tower, in the center of the exhibition hall at
  BC Place Exhibition hall., members of ACT UP (The AIDS Coalition to
  Unleash Power) presented a Golden Urn to Abbott Laboratories, the
  maker of Ritonavir, a new protease inhibitor that costs patients
  $8,000 US per year, the highest price of any of the protease
  inhibitors. ACT UP's Golden Urns are given to drug companies, public
  officials and organizations whose policies and actions are hastening
  the deaths of people with AIDS. 
  Abbott has refused to justify this price and has rejected calls for an
  independent audit of its research and manufacturing costs. Activists
  have repeatedly met with Abbott officials to try to convince them to
  lower this price, which can contribute to overall drug costs of as
  much as $30,000 US per person year. 
  "Abbott is exploiting people with AIDS by charging all the market will
  bear," commented ACT UP Golden Gate member Stephen LeBlanc.
  "Ritonavir's cost puts the drug out of reach for millions of people
  with HIV." Added ACT UP Philadelphia's Steven Parmer, "Public health
  institutions have a choice: go bankrupt trying to pay for these
  potentially life-saving medications, or deny access to whole nations
  of people with AIDS." 
  Abbott's deceit also limited access before FDA approval to a 1,000
  person lottery, claiming it had severely limited drug supply. Two
  months later, after FDA approval, they suddenly had enough drug to
  stock every pharmacy in the United States. 
  Abbott has balked at providing crucial patient education information
  to US clinics. Patient information is important because Ritonavir is
  associated with numerous potentially lethal drug interactions. The
  drug blocks an enzyme in the liver that helps the body process many
  drugs. Without this enzyme, patients can overdose on common drugs they
  are taking including antihistamines, antifungal drugs,
  antidepressants, tuberculosis treatments, and many more.
  Thus far, Abbott has failed to perform crucial drug interaction
  studies on many of the drugs listed above, as well as other protease
  inhibitors and non-nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitors
  Abbott also delayed research into HIVIG - a treatment that may prevent
  perinatal transmission - for over two years by refusing to release the
  drug to NIH researchers. Only after the drug was bought by another
  company did trials begin. 
  "Ritonavir can be dangerous and it costs too much," said ACT UP
  Atlanta member Roger Garza, "The company continually refuses to pay
  for the studies needed to give us answers on why the drug fails many
  people and the huge unanswered questions about serious drug