Hoffman LaRoche

for killer pricing policies and indifference to AIDS.

We are presenting another Golden Urn award to Hoffman "the Roach" for their long tradition of placing corporate greed above the lives of people living with AIDS. The obscene price of their new protease inhibitor, Invirase, is one more link in a never-ending chain of profiteering.

In the United States, their prices for Invirase and Hivid (Roche's nucleoside analog) are bankrupting government programs which provide drugs to low- and moderate-income people living with AIDS.

Riche was the first company to sell a protease inhibitor, and the price they chose ($7,2000 annually) set the standard for the market. The company demands this high price even though they admit that Invirase is poorly-absorbed and under-dosed in its current form. Roche has refused repeated requests by activists to justify its price by allowing a confidential independent review of its actual research and manufacturing costs.

Roche also displayed contempt for seriously-ill people living with AIDS by delaying its compassionate release program for so long that Invirase was fully-approved before the program was up and running. Consequently, many of those slated to receive free Invirase in this manner ended up being charged for it.

ACT UP sees Roche's greed

Roche has also turned its back on teen-agers living with HIV/AIDS be refusing to lower the age limit of theor clinical trials to 13 years, as other companies have done.

Adolescents' bodies absorb drugs similarly to adults so there is no reason to exclude them from studies which woul dprovide important data, as well as providing young people access to their drugs. Roche has also dragged its feet on important pediatric studies of its products, such as Invirase.

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