Abbott sues ACT-UP Paris
Abbott laboratories, manufacturer of lopinvir/r (Kaletra) and ritonavir (Norvir) has filed a lawsuit against ACT-UP Paris for organising a web protest which encouraged other advocates to use software to repeatedly access the Abbott site.
This is part of the continuing issue of Kaletra pricing and the decision by to issue a compulsory license in order to produce generic lopinavir/r (see HTB 2007, issues 4 and 5). Abbotts decision not to register the new heat stable Kaletra in Thailand, or other new drugs, prompted widespread community criticism, including this web protest.
Abbotts already-dented community profile will not be improved by its decision to use its financial weight in the courts. This has prompted an even wider challenge from community organisations including those that generally do not support either ACT-UPs analysis or approach to global access or treatment issues.
The lawsuit is seen as bullying. Many peaceful demonstrations have the ability to reduce profits and they are chosen for this reason. The action should be withdrawn before more money is wasted in legal fees.
The Abbott website was affected for over 30 minutes which clearly was a nuisance, but court costs alone could send ACT-UP into bankruptcy, irrespective of any claims for damages.
ACT-UP emphasise that websites are places for public access to information, and that any member of the public should be able to access any site, as often and as frequently as they want to.
Kaiser network – Daily HIV/AIDS Report – Abbott Sues French HIV/AIDS Advocacy Group