The U.S.-based AIDS Healthcare Foundation filed a complaint against large drugmaker GlaxoSmithKline in South Africa Jan. 28 over the prices Glaxo charges for HIV drugs.
The complaint to South Africa's Competition Commission said Glaxo has 'a stranglehold on key AIDS drug patents' and engages in 'unfettered monopoly pricing on these life-saving medications.'
Because of Glaxo's misbehavior, the foundation said, other companies should be allowed to produce generic versions of Glaxo's HIV pharmaceuticals.
Among the AIDS drugs Glaxo owns are AZT, 3TC and abacavir.
Although prices vary internationally, the cost of a three-drug anti-HIV combo often exceeds $12,000 a year in nations, such as the United States, where the government does not control drug pricing.
Around 20 percent of South African adults are HIV-positive.