ACT UP AWARDS GOLDEN URN TO:
for killer pricing policies.
Fed up, ACT UP awarded Serono laboratories a Golden Urn Award for their
foot dragging in the development of recombinant Human Growth Hormone (rHGH)
and the obscenely high cost of the drug. Activists have been pressuring
the company for more than three years to make the drug available for people
"Wasting is implicated in as much as 2/3rds of people dying
with AIDS," said ACT UP's Bill Thorne. "Serono has done everything
imaginable to bungle development of this drug. Their greed and ineptness
are killing people with AIDS wasting."
Serono's tale of ineptitude began almost five years ago.
The initial trials of the drug were so poorly designed that after a year
only one person had enrolled. ACT UP reviewd the trial and made suggestions
that resulted in the trials filling quickly. ACT UP/Golden Gate assisted
Serono in filing a Treatment IND (Investigational New Drug) application
with the FDA, so that the drug would be available early while full-approval
studies were underway. Activist were outraged when the company insisted
on a "cost recovery" for the Treatment IND at $25 per ml or $150
per day or more than $54,000 per year. rHGH is manufactured in a process
similar to that used for recombinant insulin which costs a tiny fraction
of this price. When questioned on this exorbitant price, Serono promised
to release its financial data to activists who signed a confidentiality
agreement, but abruptly reversed its promise.
Uncounted hundreds of PWAs who might have lived to take advantage of
new anti-HIV therapies are dead because of you, Serono.