Today we’re going to look at the pharmaceutical giant Bayer, the maker of Cipro.
Bayer has long been a controversial company, beginning with its roots in the German company IG Farben, which workedhand in hand with the Nazis.
It has been sued by holocaust survivors for its role in forced labor, medical experiments and other crimes.
Its been sued by people with Hemophilia who contracted AIDS though tainted blood transfusions.
And it has been targeted by AIDS activists around the world for fighting against cheap AIDS drugs for poorercountries.
Cipro, the antibiotic that many say can help treat anthrax, is ten times as expensive as generic equivalents. That’swhat made Senator Charles Schumer call for the Bush Administration to break Bayer’s patent and produce genericequivalents of the drug.
The Bayer/Cipro controversy is a microcosm of the global conflict between public health and private profit, betweenthe needs of poor countries for cheap medicines and the desire of rich corporations to preserve their patents. Its aconflict that will come to head in a little over a week when the WTO hold’s a major ministerial meeting in Qatar,where poor countries will press the US to relax drug patents on life saving medicines.
- Sharon Anne Lynch, Health Gap global access project and ACT-UP New York.
- James Love, Consumer Project on Technology.
- Philipp Mimkes, Coordination Against BAYER-Dangers (CBG).