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Business and AIDS: A new mood of co-operation [re: pharmaceutical companies]

Author: Andrew Jack, Financial Times, Published on: 1 December 2006

[T]he leading companies - Abbott, Boehringer-Ingelheim, Bristol-Myers Squibb, Gilead, GlaxoSmithKline, Roche and Merck have] established the Accelerating Access Initiative with relevant United Nations agencies. [These]...leading producers of HIV medicines are…collectively responsible for providing, at cost, at least one of the antiretroviral drug cocktails taken by [half of those treated] in the developing world... [T]he companies have [also] been active in tackling wider issues…such as Merck's $50m African Comprehensive HIV/Aids Partnership in Botswana and Pfizer's employee "fellows" scheme and donations of its antifungal drug Diflucan...The companies [continue to research] and [launch] new [and better] drugs… They have also collaborated…[in] public-private partnerships. Yet…these efforts have done little to dampen the criticism of health activists...The drug companies are sometimes disingenuous in their insistence that their own drugs access programmes alone are sufficient...activists…are frequently too muted on non-drug price related issues:…drugs make up a small proportion of total medical costs. The reality lies between the extremes…Industry best practice seems to be differential pricing in different countries based on ability to pay, with technology transfer and voluntary licences issued to a range of generic suppliers to make their medicines in bulk at the lowest cost. [article also mentions Johnson & Johnson]

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Related companies: Abbott Laboratories Boehringer Ingelheim Bristol-Myers Squibb Gilead Sciences GlaxoSmithKline Johnson & Johnson Merck Pfizer Roche