University of Minnesota statement on Ziagen license
What: University of Minnesota statement on Ziagen license
When: Thursday, April 19
Contacts: Christine Maziar, dean, Graduate School, and vice president for research, (612) 626-0309; Mark Rotenberg, General Counsel, (612) 624-4100; Amy Phenix, University News Service, (612) 625-8510
(04/19/2001) —Recognizing the tragic toll AIDS is taking in sub-Saharan Africa, and sharing the concern of many individuals and organizations who have contacted it, the University of Minnesota applauds the decision of GlaxoSmithKline and other major drug companies to drop their lawsuit in South Africa seeking to prevent the government from importing and producing low-cost anti-AIDS drugs.
The University of Minnesota is proud that research on its Twin Cities campus contributed to the development of Ziagen, which has proven effective in treating HIV/AIDS. The university would welcome a price reduction of Ziagen in sub-Saharan Africa by GlaxoSmithKline, despite a potential reduction in its royalties. Nothing in the university's license agreement with GlaxoSmithKline prohibits it from carrying out such a price reduction. The university will discuss with GlaxoSmithKline other meaningful steps that each organization can take, within the scope of their respective missions, to address the problem.
University of Minnesota royalties from Ziagen are a very small fraction of the drug's total sales. Royalties coming to the university are used for public purposes. Specifically, Ziagen royalties directly support the College of Pharmacy and the department of medicinal chemistry in the development of new drug therapies. Royalties also support graduate students and research support programs. University royalties are not profits paid as dividends to shareholders.
The University of Minnesota plays a leading role in the search for solutions to the AIDS crisis. This search is not confined to our laboratories researching treatments for the disease, but includes large-scale programs to better understand the epidemiological features of the disease, identify effective prevention strategies and better public education. Few other Minnesota organizations--public or private--do more than the university to address the AIDS crisis on multiple fronts.
The university advocates a multipronged effort to fight the AIDS epidemic, using professionals from not only health sciences but social work, finance, engineering or any other area necessary to contain the epidemic. The U.S. Senate's recent passage of an amendment to provide $700 million for AIDS drugs, prevention programs and health infrastructure for Africa is a first step. The university strongly supports final congressional approval of this funding.
The University of Minnesota applauds recent efforts by international human rights organizations, the United Nations, pharmaceutical companies, and our own graduate students to provide life-prolonging treatments for HIV/AIDS at low cost to developing countries. Sadly, HIV/AIDS will not be quickly eradicated, but will require years of commitment by the global community to prevention, treatment and compassionate care for its victims.