The California legislature passed a resolution last week calling on the state's public pension systems to use shareholder resolutions to push pharmaceutical companies into making anti-HIV medications affordable in developing nations. The California Public Employees Retirement System (CalPERS) alone holds more than $760 million in GlaxoSmithKline shares. Glaxo makes four anti-HIV medications and two combination pills of antiretroviral drugs. CalPERS and other public pension funds also hold millions of dollars of shares in other drug companies. The new resolutions calls on these groups to use their leverage as large shareholders to spur the companies to cut the prices of their anti-HIV medications.
"The cost of HIV/AIDS medications is out of the reach of many, especially in the developing world," said state senator Nell Soto, the Democrat who sponsored the measure. "My resolution asks CalPERS to use its considerable clout to help put these helpful drugs within their reach."