AIDS Activists Protest in GlaxoSmithKline Office

MANHATTAN, NY-AIDS activists from several organizations took over the investor relations office of GlaxoSmithKline Monday, demanding changes in the company's policy of donating drugs to Africa.

People from ACT UP New York, ACT UP Philadelphia, and the Health GAP Coalition worked their way into the office and threw "blood money" and empty pill bottles, while chanting "GlaxoSmithKline! GlobalSerialKiller!" They chained themselves together before there were six arrests.

The major demands of the groups focused on the pharmaceutical giant's lack of initiative to help AIDS patients in sub-Saharan Africa, where more than 35 million people are infected with the virus. Specifically they want: GlaxoSmithKline to drop a lawsuit against the South African government that would allow African officials to obtain inexpensive AIDS drugs to treat its citizens; the pharmaceutical giant to drop any legal action against Cipla Pharmaceuticals, an Indian company that provides generic forms of Glaxo's drugs to African countries; and more drug discounts to African countries.

The activists say more than one million people are dying of AIDS around the world every four months.

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