Join the Socialist Party Join us today!

Printable version Printable version

Facebook   Twitter

Link to this page: http://www.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/203/8480

From The Socialist newspaper, 27 April 2001

So much for the free market

DRUG COMPANIES, making medicines that could save millions of lives, recently brought a court action against the South African government. They aimed to stop it buying cheaper drugs. So much for the "free market"!

Jon Dale

Now the world's most profitable major industry has been forced to back off. The court case threatened to expose its profiteering at the expense of sick and dying people.

One in nine South Africans live with HIV/Aids - more than any other country. Drugs that would keep them alive and well cost 7,000-10,000 per patient per year. Most South African workers earn less than 2,000 a year. Drug copies (generics) are available, costing as little as 130 a patient a year.

But it wasn't just bad publicity that made them retreat. 5,000 supporters of the Treatment Action Campaign marched on the South African parliament, putting pressure on the government to stand firm.

US students pressed universities to use their patent rights to stop drugs companies preventing poor countries from buying generic versions.

The drugs industry's biggest fear is that cheap generic drugs could become more widely used in their super-profitable markets - North America, Europe and Japan.

The five biggest companies' combined profits are $25.2 billion.

Their exaggerated claim for Research and Development spending is $16.7 billion. They spend much more on marketing than research.

Much research money is spent on modifying existing drugs to prolong their patents or on copying their rivals.

They spend much more on research for the developed world's "lifestyle problems" like obesity, than on illnesses in the less developed countries where money is scarce.

Having won the right to buy cheap drugs, the South African government is now under pressure to start buying generic anti-Aids drugs.

But the ANC Health Minister said: "People who want access to (these drugs) can go to the private sector."

Meanwhile, the drug companies say they'll offer cheaper drugs to the public sector but not the private. So Aids rights groups will probably end up campaigning against the government.

Two of the biggest companies - Glaxo SmithKline and AstraZeneca - are based in London. A socialist government would nationalise them, compensating only small shareholders.

This would provide cheap drugs to the NHS and free drugs to the world's poorest peoples. It would set an example for workers in other countries to follow.

In South Africa, Aids could claim the lives of half of all 15-year olds. Socialist action around the world would save them.

Why not click here to join the Socialist Party, or click here to donate to the Socialist Party.


In The Socialist 27 April 2001:

Shut Down Capitalism

Stop The Jobs Slaughter

Drug companies: so much for the free market

Tube workers: If we stick together, we can win

Middle East: A war by any other name

Germany: Building international socialism


 

Home   |   The Socialist 27 April 2001   |   Join the Socialist Party

Subscribe   |   Donate  




Related links:

Market:

triangle'Dazzling' Bad Art show points to socialist future

triangleObesity epidemic: end food market anarchy

triangleNasty party imploding...drive out the Tories

triangleCapitalism and human progress

triangleAnti-austerity opposition needed to seize on Tories' weakness

Drugs:

triangleThem and us

triangleTories wreck our NHS

trianglePrescription and dental charges to rise again - fight for a free NHS!

triangleGreater Manchester: patients are people not guinea pigs!

AIDS:

trianglePride 2017: we need a fighting, socialist movement for LGBT+ rights

Drug companies:

triangleSt Austell: STPs attacked

triangleThem & Us

Reports and campaigns

Reports and campaigns

7/12/17

RMT

Anti-DOO lobby of Liverpool's transport committee

7/12/17

Blacklisting

Unite protest against blacklisting

6/12/17

Donald Trump

Mobilise to stop bigoted billionaire Donald Trump's state visit to Britain

6/12/17

Transport

Arriva bus strikers stand firm

6/12/17

Pensions

BT pensions review - oppose the attacks on the pension schemes

6/12/17

PCS

Driving examiners walkout hits first day of new test

6/12/17

Newham

School staff strike against privatisation

6/12/17

Rail

Brutal rail privateer Abellio takes over Midlands rail services

6/12/17

PCS

PCS Left Unity celebrates 40th anniversary at annual conference

6/12/17

North Yorkshire

Court maintains injunction against fracking protesters

6/12/17

Waltham Forest

Waltham Forest Universal Credit protest

6/12/17

Coventry

Coventry Socialist sales hit 1,000

6/12/17

TUSC

TUSC conference to debate 2018 elections

6/12/17

Liverpool

Liverpool John Moores Uni landslide for Socialist Students

6/12/17

Kirklees

Plans to launch no-cuts campaign at Kirklees College

triangleMore Reports and campaigns articles...


Join the Socialist Party
Subscribe to Socialist Party publications
Donate to the Socialist Party

triangle8 Dec Local government pay: fight for the full 5% claim

triangle6 Dec Strikers rally in Liverpool

triangle6 Dec Corbyn's Labour can defeat Tories with socialist programme

triangle5 Dec Victory at Glenfield shows people power can save our NHS

triangle5 Dec Labour council Blairites deselected

triangle30 Nov Victory: Glenfield Children's Heart Centre saved!

triangle30 Nov Dramatic retelling of Grunwick strike

More ...

triangle12 Dec Birmingham South East Socialist Party: Can the Labour Party be changed?

triangle12 Dec Liverpool Socialist Party: Fighting council cuts

triangle13 Dec Caerphilly Socialist Party: Are we heading for an era of war?

triangle14 Dec Wakefield Socialist Party: Universal Credit - the Tories' latest assault on the poor

More ...

Socialist Party Facebook page
Socialist Party on Twitter
Visit us on Youtube

Archive

Archives:

December 2017

November 2017

October 2017

September 2017

August 2017

July 2017

June 2017

May 2017

April 2017

March 2017

February 2017

January 2017

2016

2015

2014

2013

2012

2011

2010

2009

2008

2007

2006

2005

2004

2003

2002

2001

2000

1999

Legal

SP RSS feed RSS

Platform setting: = No platform choice

V2