ACT UP and Other Health Activists Rally Against High Drug Prices
NY – Last Thursday, April Fools Day eve, the Washington Post (see reprint) briefly reported that pharmaceutical giant Pfizer, Inc. had “vowed today to stop the time-tested habit of jacking up the list prices of its drugs each year.”
As it turned out, an ad hoc group of activists calling themselves “Nobody’s Fool,” in collaboration with the cyberspace activist group The Yes Men, created the fake press releases and websites. The content of these websites is attached.
The fake website for PhRMA Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America “announced” a Sustainable Pricing Plan for the 21st Century, an ostensible initiative establishing a new pricing model that would improve access to medications by lowering prices.
On the fake Pfizer website, the company “announced” the immediate end to price increases. Several online media outlets, including the Washington Post, fell for the prank and reported the announcements as real before the websites were shut down. Pfizer has released a statement to disregard the new drug pricing policy and its commitment to “engaging in an honest discussion” with patients about affordable medicines. The community of health activists is open to pursuing this opportunity with Pfizer to discuss improvements in the way medicines are priced so everyone can access the treatment they need.
The next day, April 1, dozens of activists from ACT UP New York and other organizations converged at the New York City headquarters of Pfizer, to demand drug pricing reforms. Activists criticized Pfizer because it:
• consistently implements price increases that far outstrip the rate of inflation;
• is engaging in a merger with Irish drug company Allergan to avoid paying
billions of dollars in U.S. taxes; and
• refuses to lower the price of their pneumonia vaccine to $5 per child, as Doctors Without Borders (MSF) has requested, to make the vaccine available in poor countries.
The Pharma Greed Kills demonstration at Pfizer’s headquarters was organized in coordination with over 30 organizations in 13 cities in several countries, including
Australia, Brazil, France, India, Japan, South Africa, and the UK. Their demands were included in a global press release, attached.
ACT UP New York said that such actions are necessary to force a conversation about the issue of increasing drug prices and restrictions to access. “We demand that all Presidential primary candidates commit to substantially more forceful policy proposals to deal with the pharmaceutical giants’ price-gouging and profiteering,” said Annette Gaudino, an ACT UP New York spokesperson.
For more information, contact:
ACT UP New York
Jake Levi: (929) 248-8252 or
Bryn Gay: (954) 482-1421
For photos and videos:
Twitter: @actupny #PharmaGreedKills