Chicago, IL – This morning, dozens of AIDS advocates peacefully disrupted the U.S. Conference on AIDS (USCA) with a protest aimed at drug company Gilead Science Inc. Carrying signs that said “Occupy Gilead” while chanting: “Gilead is the 1%,” the group surrounded one of Gilead’s conference booths, circling it with red ribbon.
Some of the protestors, led by AIDS Healthcare Foundation, also wore masks of Gilead CEO Johns Martin’s face while shouting “John Martin, you think twice: Atripla, lower the price.”
During the action, protestors received “thumbs-up” from the people at the conference who were generally supportive, understanding the urgent need for lower drug prices.
Calling the action “Occupy Gilead” – because the group “occupied” the Gilead booth at the conference—the goal of today’s action was to bring attention to the U.S. AIDS drug crisis that has currently left more than 6,500 Americans on waiting lists to receive lifesaving AIDS medications through state AIDS Drug Assistance Programs (ADAPs).
Waiting lists exist because state programs cannot afford the high price of AIDS drugs. Gilead’s oft-prescribed drug Atripla is at the top of the unaffordable list, priced at $10,000 per patient per year.
While thousands of Americans wait to see if they will get the lifesaving medicines they need, Gilead CEO John Martin makes $42 million, making him the 7th highest paid executive in the nation.
The 15th annual United State Conference on AIDS (USCA) is taking place November 10-13, 2011, in Chicago, IL. The National Minority AIDS Council (NMAC) hosts the conference, the largest annual AIDS gathering in the country, bringing together over 3,000 HIV professionals.
Gilead Science Inc. is a key supporter of this year’s conference.