Yesterday morning I and several other dedicated Stop AIDers woke up at the crack of dawn and faced the cold and chaotic tubes to protest against Merck, a leading pharmaceutical giant.

merckLast year South Africa produced a new draft bill proposing to strengthen it’s patent law so that it wouldn’t have to accept unfair patents on life-saving drugs and could instead produce or import affordable, generic versions. South Africa currently has the highest percentage of people living with HIV in the world, estimated at a staggering 5.6 million. These new laws would essentially mean that hundreds of lives would be saved, and we would be well on the way to reaching the ‘Tipping point’ (more people with HIV on medication than acquiring new infections) necessary to end the AIDS pandemic.

HOWEVER, a strategy paper from a group of drug companies lead by pharma giant Merck was leaked exposing their plan to derail the initiative driven by PURE GREED! If they get their way then South Africa will not be able to extend their ARV program or afford new TB or Cancer drugs. You can read the full document and more on the story here.

In South Africa yesterday, campaigners gathered outside the IPASA (innovative pharmaceutical association South Africa) to protest against this greed-driven plan and in solidarity, we joined them with our own protest in London.

And on the other side of the UK in Edinburgh, our international speakers, the fantastic Edinburgh Student Stop AIDS society and our very own Saoirse filmed this brilliant video in support of South Africans:

So what can you do? Share the video and/or this post all over your social media network and let Merck know what they’re doing is totally unacceptable by tweeting them: ‘@Merck Stop walking all over South Africans for a profit #pharmagate @STOPAIDS @StudentStopAIDS’