Calling for the Global Action Week Against Roche!

Korean patients and activists are calling for "The Global Action Week Against Roche 1st-7th October 2008" to urge Roche to stop abuse their power and threaten HIV patients, starting with October 1st, the anniversary day of establishment of Roche.


Fuzeon is an essential drug for HIV-positive people who have tried other anti-HIV drugs in the past and are unable to keep their viral loads undetectable using drugs that are currently available. Korea Ministry for Health, Welfare and Family Affairs listed Fuzeon on the price of $18,000 a year in 2004. However the Swiss drug giant Roche claimed $ 22,000 and has withheld the supply of this life saving drug in South Korea.

A marketing director of Roche Korea said in the news interview that Roche has not supplied Fuzeon to developing countries including South Korea because they have no ability to pay for the drug. That is to say, Fuzeon will not be supplied for the countries who do not have enough money to pay for. In the meeting, Mr. Urs said 'we do not business for saving lives, but for making money. Saving lives is none of our business'.

Roche argues that the demand for $22,000 is never excessive one because South Korea has the National Healthcare Insurance System and is classified into high-income country by World Bank. However, it should be noted that national healthcare system is currently under threat from multinational drug companies. Aggressive drug pricing policy by pharmaceutical companies is threatening not only developing countries but developed countries.

Most developed countries have national healthcare system, but now it is shrinking from the multinational drug companies and FTAs. For instance, Korea-U.S. FTA makes it very difficult to issue 'compulsory licensing' which enables people to control drugs and undermines people's access to medicine by introducing various measures to strengthen patent and intellectual property protections on medicine. In this way, the national healthcare system even in the developed countries is rapidly changing and the burden of expensive medicine price now affects the people.

Big pharmaceutical companies often argue that the problem of 'access to medicine' can be solved by charity and mercy to developing countries. However, the exact point is not 'access to medicine for poor' but 'access to medicine for all'. In addition, it should be emphasized that people's struggle to access the 3rd line therapy is also very important. Because we believe that any patient has a right to access the most suitable and affordable medicine for oneself.

We believe that our struggle is your struggle and can be extended to the campaign against the aggressive drug pricing policy of big pharmaceutical companies and drug monopoly across the world.

Korean activists
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