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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
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
ACT UP AWARDS THE GOLDEN URN TO:
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.