GlaxoSmithKline's pricing of AZT to be investigated

By Advocate.com Editors

Originally published on Advocate.com December 20 2002 1:00 AM ET

Officials from the California Public Employees Retirement System, responding to complaints from AIDS advocates who say that pharmaceutical giant GlaxoSmithKline charges consumers 32 times the cost of making the anti-HIV drug AZT, announced Wednesday that they are launching an investigation into the pricing of the drug. CalPERS, the second-largest pension fund in the country, holds an estimated $1 billion in Glaxo stock. CalPERS officials plan to look into how Glaxo's pricing policies impact people in California who need anti-HIV medications and whether the cost of the drug is prohibitory. "We're heartened that CalPERS is willing to ask [Glaxo] for hard numbers on the pricing for AZT," said AIDS Healthcare Foundation spokesperson Ged Kenslea. "If Glaxo fails to comply, we will urge CalPERS and other investors to divest."