Taking It to the Streets

Drug companies have long skirted criticism of their fat profits by pointing to the huge financial risks they take to develop life-saving medicines. But lately that argument hasn't worked so well. The AIDS pandemic ravaging sub-Saharan Africa, where 25 million people are dying from the disease, has given rise to an alliance of activists, health professionals and politicians who accuse multinational pharmaceutical firms of pricing their AIDS-fighting drugs out of the reach of poor countries while greedily blocking the production of generic copies. That has stunned the industry into a price war in reverse: in one month the cost of AIDS...

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