Glaxosmithkline, Bristol-Myers Squibb, and Aids in Africa

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• Case – 2 Marks-20In 2004, the United Nations estimated that the previous year 5 million more people around the world hadcontracted the AIDS virus, 3 million had died, and a total of 40 million people were living with theinfection. Seventy percent, or about 28 million of these, lived in sub – Saharan Africa, where the epidemicwas at its worst. Sub – Saharan Africa consists of the 48 countries and 643 million people who residesouth of the Saharan desert. In 16 of these countries, 10 percent are infected with the virus, in 6 othernation, 20 percent are infected. The UN predicted that in these 6 nations two – thirds of all 15 – year oldswould eventually die of AIDS and in those where 10 percent were infected, half of all 15 – year –…show more content…
In1987, Burroughs Wellcome (now part of GlaxoSmithKline) developed AZT, the first FDA-approvedantiretroviral, that is, a drug that attacks the HIV virus itself. When wellcome priced AZT at $10,000 for ayear’s supply, it was accused of price gouging, forcing a price reducing of 20 percent the following year. In1991, Bristol- Myers Squibb developed didanosine, a new class of antiretroviral drug called nucleosidereverse transcriptase inhibitors. In 1995, Roche developed saquinavir, a third new class of antiretroviraldrug called a protease inhibitor, and the following year Roxane Laboratories announced nevirapine,another new class of antiretrovirals called nonnucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitors . By the middle1990s, drug companies had developed four distinct classes of antiretrovirals, as several drugs thatattacked the opportunistic diseases that afflict AIDS patients. In 1996, Dr. David Ho was honored for his discovery that by taking a combination- a “cocktail”- ofthree of than four classes of antiretroviral drags, it is possible to kill off virtually all of than HIV virus in apatient’s body, allowing the immune system to recover, and thereby effectively bringing the disease intoremission. Costing upwards of $20,000 a year (the medicines had to be taken for the rest of the patient’slife), the new drug treatment enabled AIDS patients to once again live normal, healthy lives. By 1998, thelarge drug companies would

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