Friday, December 22, 2006

Light a candle for AIDS - or pharmaceutical profits?

'Thank you for lighting a candle to support the fight against HIV/AIDS' Bristol-Myers Squibb tell us on their Light to Unite (TM) campaign page designed, they say, 'to help raise awareness of the ongoing HIV/AIDS epidemic in the U.S'.

Cute candle ... I lit one ... felt good ... and then regretted it when I checked out what independent writers in the New Internationalist have to say about Bristol-Myers Squibb.

Looks like B-M don't have such a feel-good-thing going in AIDS stricken poor world countries.

NI article 'Patient versus Patent' describes the company's attempts to patent HIV drugs in Thailand - thus making them unaffordable to most of the million or so Thai's who have or have died from HIV.

Another independent article on AIDS explains how lucrative it is for pharmacuetical companies to maintain their monopoly on the
market through patents which prevent the production of cheaper generic medicines for at least 20 years.

It also reports that Bristol-Myers has paid its CEO at least $146 million in one year.

As they've capped their donation to AIDS research at $100 thousand I'm afraid it looks to me like those cute Christmas candles are merely a smidge of the CEO's pocket money being spent on an image makeover.

They might even be providing a useful return in skewed research findings!

Sorry to be a candle snuffer!

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