As part of a global series of direct actions in cities on five continents, naked activists from ACT UP London stood in the lobby of the pharmaceutical company Gilead Sciences, displaying the slogan “Pharma Greed Kills”. Gilead produces Truvada, a type of pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) which is used to treat HIV in adults and teenagers. Yet at £446 per month, Truvada’s price makes it too expensive for it to be viably considered under the National Health Service.
Whilst the high cost of PrEP has a negative effect on those living with HIV by making medication more difficult to obtain, ACT Up London’s protest is about more than challenging the price of these medicines. Pharmaceutical companies are one part of a wider healthcare establishment that values profit margins over public health. As massive cuts to the NHS take effect on people living with HIV, this is a timely and important concern.
The medical industry is based on the premise that healthcare is a product that can be bought and sold, rather than a means to create dignity and social uplift. ACT UP London is the latest iteration in a series of AIDS campaigns that have, historically, focused on the affordability of drugs, and the speed at which they are released to market. Read more via the Guardian