Having become more politically focused than corporate focused in recent months, ACT UP chapters in the United States and Paris did not mention the October announcement by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation of its five-year, $100 million grant program.
ACT UP still feels disdain toward Abbott [Laboratories? yes] resulting from legal tensions between the company and the group and Abbott’s actions in Thailand to prevent Thailand’s breakage of essential drug patents through compulsory licensing requests made under the WTO TRIPS agreement. regarding compulsory licensing [I realize that client recipients of this report will know Abbott’s position on this issue, but nowhere in the piece is that clear and I think it probably should be] earlier in the year. Abbott is still held out by the group as the top pharmaceutical villain; in mid-October, ACT UP posted Abbott’s second quarter financial information and argued that it made its money by causing the deaths of people in Thailand.
ACT UP Paris is actually using the Abbott/Thailand controversy to open a wider watchdog campaign against the EU and French governments, monitoring whether they side with pharmaceuticals on the compulsory licensing argument.
ACT UP Paris posted information in October on its Web site criticizing EU Commissioner for Trade Peter Mandelson’s letter to the Thai government opposing its[the government’s? yes] compulsory licensing claim. ACT UP says the letter shows a disregard for HIV/AIDS patient’s rights and an inaccurate interpretation of international patent law and makes explicit threats to the Thai government on behalf of large pharmaceuticals. ACT UP Paris and its ally AIDES sent a letter to Mandelson on Aug. 22 arguing [against? yes] several claims Mandelson made in the letter about compulsory licensing and asking the EU commissioner of trade to clarify his statements on the issue.