Below is an open letter from clinicians and researchers to Abbott CEO Miles White, and a list of endorsers so far. This letter will be delivered ahead of Abbott's Annual General Meeting for shareholders, in Abbott Park, Illinois on April 27, 2007, in order to convey the outrage among health care providers and researchers in response to his decision to retaliate against Thai patients for the lawful compulsory licenses issued by the Thai government.
Because of pressure on Abbott from from the Thai government's lawful compulsory license and from advocates around the world, Abbott announced on April 10 a 55% reduction, to $1000 per patient per year, of the price of the heat-stable formulation of Kaletra for middle-income countries. This price is $1200 less than the previous price Abbott had been offering to these countries.
More pressure on Abbott is still urgently needed: Abbott continues to hold Thai patients hostage by refusing to reverse their decision to withdraw the registration of seven new drugs from the Thai market, including the heat-stable formulation of Kaletra. Please take a moment to endorse this timely letter today.
To endorse, please send your name, location (city and country) and affiliation (for identification purposes only) to Asia Russell at: email@example.com or call +1 267 475 2645.
The current deadline for sign on is end of day Tuesday, April 24.
Please take a moment to forward this timely request to contacts in your networks. Thanks in advance.
PS: if you are not a clinician or a researcher, visit www.abbottsgreed.com
for ideas about what you can do to be part of this campaign.
Health GAP (Global Access Project)
tel: +1 267 475-2645
OPEN LETTER TO ABBOTT CEO AND CHAIRMAN MILES WHITE
To: Abbott CEO and Chairman Miles White
From: Clinicians and researchers around the world
Chairman and CEO
100 Abbott Park Road
Abbott Park, IL 60064
Dear Miles White,
We, the undersigned, are disappointed and outraged by Abbott’s decision to stop marketing new medicines in Thailand and to withdraw all applications to register medicines in the country.
Abbott has decided to retreat from the Thai market in retaliation to Thailand’s lawful decision to issue compulsory licenses for three medicines, including for two antiretrovirals: efavirenz and lopinavir+ritonavir (Kaletra). These compulsory licenses will achieve reductions in costs and will increase access to critically important medicines in Thailand, something protracted negotiations between the Thai government and Abbott unfortunately did not achieve.
Abbott’s decision to deny medicines to Thai patients is an inappropriate response to the lawful actions of a country addressing its urgent public health needs in a manner that is completely consistent with its international obligations according to the World Trade Organization’s Agreement on Trade Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS), and it is also consistent with Thai national law.
Furthermore, you are clearly attempting to set a precedent and send a message to other developing countries that they, too, will be punished in this fashion should they decide to use their lawful right to issue compulsory licenses to increase access to medicines. This is unacceptable.
Importantly, your decision identifies you as an outlier among pharmaceutical companies: at this point in time time we are aware of no other pharmaceutical company that has ever responded as you have in reaction to the issuance of compulsory licenses.
If Abbott believed that Thailand’s actions were not consistent with their TRIPS commitments then there are legal avenues by which to contest this. However, by withdrawing registrations for essential medicines from the Thai market, such as heat-stable lopinavir+ritonavir--an essential antiretroviral adapted for hot climates and particularly important for tropical countries like Thailand--Abbott has chosen instead to hold Thai patients hostage.
As clinicians and researchers from around the world we find this unacceptable and demand that you reverse your decision immediately.