Activists put a spotlight on drug company yet to join AIDS drug patent pool

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College students, people living with AIDS, and community members held a “pool party” outside of Merck’s laboratories in Boston Friday, to speak out about the company’s hesitation to join the Medicines Patent Pool  (MPP) – a two-year-old organization that works with drug companies to create licenses that allow generic drug companies to produce their patented AIDS drugs at much lower prices, and provide them to low- and middle-income countries. Only about one-third of those deemed clinically eligible to receive antiretroviral therapy by the World Health Organization in low- and middle-income countries actually receive it.

Donning bathing suits and carrying signs stating, for example, “Don’t be a fool, join the pool,” “Merck join the Medicines Patent Pool,” and “Human lives not corporate greed,” – the activists demonstrated with an ask that Merck join the pool by January 2012 and produce licenses for its patented AIDS drugs efavirenz and raltegravir.

According to a press release from the Harvard College Global Health & AIDS Coalition, “Friday’s pool party is part of an ongoing campaign for the MPP across the U.S. and the [United Kingdom], and the activists plan on heading to Merck’s New Jersey headquarters next.”


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