By Advocate.com Editors
Originally published on Advocate.com March 14 2003 1:00 AM ET
A group of Illinois lawmakers is expected next week to introduce legislation that would call for a statewide boycott of drugs produced by GlaxoSmithKline in protest of the company's restriction of drug sales to Canadian pharmacies that sell to Americans, the Chicago Tribune reports. Glaxo announced in January plans to stop selling its medications to Canadian pharmacies that sell the medications to Americans either directly or through Internet sites. Because Canada maintains price caps on medications sold in the country, drugs are available at a fraction of the price they would cost in the United States. Company officials said the decision was not made to protect profits but because Glaxo worried that the medications might be damaged or contaminated during shipping.
The Illinois lawmakers plan to introduce a bill that would prevent the state from conducting business with Glaxo and would prevent state investments in the drug company, including through employee retirement plans. The boycott would not include Glaxo products for which there are no alternatives, but it was unclear whether the company's anti-HIV drugs 3TC, AZT, Ziagen, Combivir, Trizivir, and Agenerase would be included in the boycott. The bill currently has the support of Lt. Gov. Pat Quinn and state treasurer Judy Baar Topinka.