Naked activists stormed the London headquarters of HIV drug manufacturer Gilead, protesting what they described as the “extortionate price of medicines”. Five protesters removed all of their clothes to reveal letters spelling out G R E E D painted on their backs.
Around 30 other activists rallied outside, temporarily blockading the traffic, shouting “pharma greed kills”. The protest was part of a “globally coordinated day of action against pharmaceutical greed”, with similar protests taking place in cities around the world.
Gilead Sciences is the manufacturer of Truvada, the antiretroviral drug used widely in the prevention of HIV. Last month NHS England stalled plans to make Truvada available as an HIV prevention drug through pre-exposure prevention (PrEP) treatment. An NHS study showed it can drastically reduce the chance of HIV infection by up to 86 percent.
Alex Craddock, 24, linked this to his decision to join the protest, adding:
“I felt outraged and let down by the decision. It’s not just NHS cuts, but the cost of these drugs. Pharmaceutical greed is blocking my access to PrEP. My health and that of many of my friends shouldn’t be at risk simply because these companies choose to put profit before people.”
Dani Singer of ACT UP London said,
“The public won’t be taken for fools by ‘Big Pharma’ anymore! Globally, more than two billion people do not have regular access to the critical medicines they need. This is one in three of the world’s population.
Every year, 10 million people die from diseases because drug pricing blocks access to effective treatments. One reason for this is the high cost of medicines under patent protection.”
Protester Jake Chambers added,
“We stand here naked, completely vulnerable, a state in which the current system leaves millions around the world. We also stand with bareness and honesty, and we demand that drug companies be exposed in the same way.”
(via Pink News)