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Serrono- AIDS Profiteer

  The Golden Urn Awards
  ACT UP gave out Golden Urns to drug companies, public officials, and
  organizations whose policies and actions are hastening the deaths of
  people with AIDS during the International AIDS conference in Vancouver
  this July.
  One of this year's "winners" was :Serono Laboratories for its obscene
  price for recombinant Human Growth Hormone (rHGH), a drug that
  prevents death from AIDS wasting. The company plans to demand 75,000
  annually. [ACT UP Victory - after the Vancouver action, Serono has
  agreed to demands for a price cap for rHGH- wholesale price cap of
  $36,000.00 annually- and will address other community concerns raised
  at the FDA March 1, 1996 hearing. We have also heard that after Bill
  Thorne's presentation,that the FDA plans to approve hHGH.  
  ACT UP confronted Serono during a early morning satellite symposium of
  scientists, physicians and healthcare providers. This is the text of
  the award. 
  for killer pricing policies.
  ACT UP awards Serono laboratories a Golden Urn Award for their foot
  dragging in the development of recombinant Human Growth Hormone (rHGH)
  and the obscenely high cost of the drug. Activists have been
  pressuring the company for more than three years to make the drug
  available for people with AIDS.
  "Wasting is implicated in as much as 2/3rds of people dying with
  AIDS," said ACT UP's Bill Thorne. "Serono has done everything
  imaginable to bungle development of this drug. Their greed and
  ineptness are killing people with AIDS wasting."
  Serono's tale of ineptitude began almost five years ago. The initial
  trials of the drug were so poorly designed that after a year only one
  person had enrolled. ACT UP reviewd the trial and made suggestions
  that resulted in the trials filling quickly. ACT UP/Golden Gate
  assisted Serono in filing a Treatment IND (Investigational New Drug)
  application with the FDA, so that the drug would be available early
  while full-approval studies were underway. Activist were outraged when
  the company insisted on a "cost recovery" for the Treatment IND at $25
  per ml or $150 per day or more than $54,000 per year. rHGH is
  manufactured in a process similar to that used for recombinant insulin
  which costs a tiny fraction of this price. When questioned on this
  exorbitant price, Serono promised to release its financial data to
  activists who signed a confidentiality agreement, but abruptly
  reversed its promise.
  Uncounted hundreds of PWAs who might have lived to take advantage of
  new anti-HIV therapies are dead because of you, Serono.