Defiance Campaign
 

The TAC campaign for a price reduction on Fluconazole/Diflucan was successfully launched on the 13th of March, 2000.

The following letter was delivered to the CEO of Pfizer.

WILLIAM C. STEERE, JR.
CHAIRMAN AND CHIEF EXECUTIVE OFFICER
PFIZER, INC
235 42ND STREET, 23RD FLOOR
NEW YORK, NY 10017
USA

March 13 2000

BY HAND, REGISTERED MAIL AND FAX:
09 (212) 573-3253

Dear Mr. Steere 

As you are well aware, AIDS in South African has
become an acute crisis with more than 100 000 deaths yearly. As the patent
holder for Fluconazole, you currently have monopoly rights to sell
Fluconazole in South Africa. With this right comes responsibilities. 
Everyday, South Africans are dying from cryptococcal meningitis and systemic
thrush, opportunistic infections that can be effectively treated with
Fluconazole. Why are patients dying from an easily diagnosed and easily
treatable disease? Many of them are dying because Pfizer prices the drug
beyond the reach of South Africans. The Treatment Action Campaign (TAC)
demands that Pfizer take one of the following two actions: 

Lower the retail price of Fluconazole (tablet of 200 mg.) to less than R4 --
the price at which the drug can be purchased in generic form in countries
where Pfizer does not have patent protection. 

If your management decides that you are not willing to sell this drug at
this price, we demand that you grant a voluntary license to TAC so that we
would be authorised to legally register imported or locally manufactured
generic versions of the drug.

Why must Pfizer agree to these demands? 

There is clear evidence that it is possible to manufacture and sell
fluconazole at a price which would make it affordable to a significant
number of South Africans. It is only Pfizer's pricing policy which keeps the
drug out of patients' reach. The current price of fluconazole in South
Africa's public sector is R58.00 per 200 mg capsule. In the private sector,
the price ranges between R150.00 and R200.00 per 200 mg capsule. These
prices are not acceptable in South Africa, where the majority of employed
people earn less than R50.00 per day. Generic versions of fluconazole
are available from India at R7.50 and from Thailand at R2.98. Rather than
the production cost, it is Pfizer's pricing policy that seeks to maximise
profit that is causing the needless deaths of South Africans. 

CONDITIONS OF VOLUNTARY LICENCE 

A voluntary licence could be granted to TAC on the following conditions: 

a. TAC would work with local generic companies and foreign
Companies to register quality, low cost generic versions of fluconazole.
b. TAC would ensure that Pfizer receive a 5% royalty on prices set on the
generic product.

The matter is urgent. We request that Pfizer respond within 7 days of the
date of this letter. The Treatment Action Campaign (TAC) is a
national,non-profit, non- governmental voluntary association of people with
HIV/AIDS, their families, friends, care-givers and physicians. TAC is
supported by trade unions, religious bodies, small businesses, women's
organisations, AIDS service organisations, human rights organisations and
grassroots community organisations in South Africa and abroad. Yours
faithfully 

Mazibuko Jara 

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