AHF takes swipe at Big Pharma for profiteering

By Edward Makuzva

HARARE – An African Bureau for Aids Healthcare Foundation (AHF), director for advocacy, policy and marketing, Oluwakemi Gbadamosi, said Western pharmaceuticals continue to exploit developing countries by overpricing medication.

Speaking at a Press conference recently in Harare, Gbadamosi bemoaned global HIV/Aids drug producers and suppliers of fleecing developing nations.

She added that Gilead is one of the worst offenders of big pharma profiteering, and at the same time, it has priced several of its HIV and hepatitis C drugs out of the reach for many people.

“Gilead is among the top 15 largest biopharmaceutical firms in the world, statistics revealed that the company generating over US$27 billion in revenueand paying its CEO over US$19 million in 2021 alone.

“In addition to overpricing life-saving drugs, it has refused to register some medications in lower-income countries and consistently blocks attempts to introduce cheaper, generic versions of its medicines.
“As a leading global HIV/AIDS organisation with over 1.7 million patients in care across 45 countries, including nearly 871,000 in 13 African countries, it is our responsibility at AHF to take a stand and call out Gilead so that governments and decision-makers everywhere put collective pressure on it to prioritise lives over obscenely high profits.”

“Stop evergreening patents on existing HIV/AIDS drugs like Truvada – this is exploitation, not innovation”, Gbadamosi explained.

She said AHF is taking its grassroots campaign global to raise awareness about Gilead’s shameful practices and calling on the company to do the following open the license for the generic production of the hepatitis C drug Harvoni to all low- and middle-income countries, without exception.

Link executive compensation to the impact on positive public health outcomes and access to medicines in developing countries.

Gbadamosi highlighted that a highly-effective hepatitis C drug costs US$1 000 per pill and a 12-week course of treatment has a retail price of over US$90 000.

She added that the public and lower-income countries are rewarded with astronomical drug prices.
Our global advocacy campaign is meant to let everyone know about Gilead’s greedy tactics and make lifesaving medicines accessible for everyone, not just people in rich countries.

Speaking at the same occasion, Country programme manager for AIDS Health Care Foundation in Zimbabwe, Enerst Chikwati said Zimbabwe and other developing countries should invest in manufacturing their own drugs to cut costs and guarantee availability of drugs.

“We need to establish our own pharmaceuticals and manufacturing plants.
“We have to put a lot of effort in research and development of our drugs. As a country, we should approach government to run tests and put more effort in developing our drugs,” Chikwati explained.
AIDS Healthcare Foundation is a global non-profit organisation providing cutting-edge medicine and advocacy to over 1.7 million people in 45 countries worldwide.

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