Mexicans denounce US firm over high prices of vital medications

Mexico City, Feb 8 (EFE).- Activists gathered here Wednesday to condemn US drugmaker Gilead Sciences, Inc. for pricing Hepatitis C, AIDS and Covid-19 medications beyond the reach of patients in Mexico and around the world.

“We think that the prices it sets in the market, and which are characterized by excessive greed and excessive profit, are denying life to the neediest people, the populations most vulnerable to illnesses such as HIV,” Jose Antonio Matus, advocacy coordinator in Mexico for the Los Angeles-based AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF), told EFE.

Gilead, he said, uses its control of patents “to obstruct the availability of these medications in medium- and low-income countries.”

Matus pointed to the prices of Covid-19 drug Remdesivir, 49,000 pesos ($2,587),and the HIV/AIDS treatment Biktarvy, which costs 1,700 pesos ($89).

Median household income in Mexico was $13,989 in 2021, compared with $70,784 in the US.

The head of Programs at AHF Mexico, Guillermo Bustamante, said that the high prices have the effect of reducing demand, which in turn limits the supply of drugs.

Developing countries generally have a fixed budget for buying medicine “and the Mexican government has to buy few medications because they are unaffordable,” he told EFE.

Bustamante said Gilead has an obligation to justify the exorbitant prices it demands for life-saving and life-sustaining drugs.

AHF accepts the right of Gilead and other pharmaceutical companies to make profits, Matus said.

“We know that it takes time to develop a molecule for a medication, but Gilead doesn’t want to drop their prices,” he said. “The profit is excessive and occasionally reaches incredible proportions of up to 200 percent.” EFE csr/dr

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