Glaxo price cuts not enough Apr03

I welcome GlaxoSmithKline's decision to slash the price of its Aids drugs in poor countries to just under one dollar a day ("Glaxo cuts price of Aids drugs in poor countries" 28/04/03) as a vital step towards improving access to life-saving antiretroviral medicines in those parts of the developing world hardest hit by the AIDS virus.


Unfortunately, this announcement is long overdue. Earlier action by GSK could have prevented a significant number of deaths throughout the world's poorest countries, action which I strongly recommended over two years ago as author of the European Parliament's Report on "Combating communicable diseases: HIV/AIDS, TB & Malaria".


Perhaps the pharmaceutical industry will now take note of one of my other recommendations which specified the need for distinctive shape, colour and packaging of drugs destined for the poor at lower prices, in order to stop re-export of these drugs by irresponsible traders and corrupt politicians. This is now imperative given Glaxo's decision to halve the price of Aids drugs which presents further opportunities for profiteering by illegal traders.