Gov. Brown’s Public Safety and Rehabilitation Act of 2016 was a sham that gave false hopes of freedom to thousands of juvenile offenders who have grown up – and are now adults – in California prisons and Three Strikers, who believed they would finally see their 20-, 30- and 40-year-old priors, which have kept them behind bars long after their current sentence has been completed, go away. But that’s not the reality.
The great Black activist and artist Paul Robeson in 1958, in Carnegie Hall, sang the gospel song, “Balm in Gilead”: “♪There is a balm in Gilead, ♪To make the wounded whooole♪ ….” These words in song sprang back from over half a century, when the news emerged of a big pharmaceutical, Gilead Sciences, Inc., buying the drug Sofosbuvir – and then tripling its preferred price – to treat hundreds of thousands of people suffering from Hepatitis C.
“This conference that we are picketing ... is an obscene reflection of the reality of this country today, that the most important thing is money and profit and not human needs!” – Carole Seligman, speaking at the demonstration - It was in their fancy tailored suits and with suspicious eyes that big pharma CEOs and investors got interrupted by protestors and speeches such as the above as they came and went from the too-big-to-fail JP Morgan-sponsored conference on “health care” (read: profit care) at the elite Westin St. Francis hotel on Union Square in San Francisco on Monday, the 11th of January, 2016.
Protest Big Pharma’s price gouging that threatens Hep-C patients, including Mumia, on Monday, Jan. 11, 12 noon, at the JP Morgan Healthcare Conference for Big Pharma executives and investors at Westin St. Francis Hotel, 335 Powell St., Union Square, in San Francisco. Gilead Sciences sells the curative Harvoni pill in Egypt for 10 cents each, and Gilead does not lose money at this price. In the U.S., Gilead is price-gouging at about 10,000 times the cost of production!
“Who gets treated for hepatitis C?” is a medical decision for infectious disease specialists, not a question of “ethics, costs or access” for well-meaning executives. “Who pays?” depends on measuring the real social costs of failing to treat a national epidemic and cannot be measured by the limited considerations of private entities and public agencies in a single state, or even several states.
Attorneys filed lawsuits in Pennsylvania and Massachusetts this week on behalf of prisoners who say they’re being denied new lifesaving treatment for Hepatitis C because of the cost of the drugs. Gilead Sciences manufactures two versions of the cure, Harvoni and Sovaldi. Abbvie Pharmaceutical Limited, formerly Abbot Labs, manufactures another, Viekira Pak. The cost of any one of the three is roughly $90,000.