GlaxoSmithKline faces lawsuit by AIDS group over HIV drugs - ( via NewsPoints Desk)

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By Edvard Pettersson
SOURCE: [Bloomberg]

Los Angeles, June 30 (Bloomberg) -- GlaxoSmithKline Plc, the world's largest maker of HIV drugs, faces a lawsuit by an AIDS group, which says the company's patents on some of its HIV drugs are invalid.

AIDS Healthcare Foundation will file a lawsuit in Los Angeles tomorrow, Michael Weinstein, president of the nonprofit organization said in an interview. The group accuses GlaxoSmithKline of making misstatements in its patent applications for some of its HIV drugs, Weinstein said.

"The issue is that they didn't invent any of these drugs and yet they're charging astronomical prices for them," Weinstein said.

All of the GlaxoSmithKline's patents are valid, spokeswoman Nancy Pekarek said in an interview. Some of the company's patents for its HIV drugs have been reviewed in court already and all issues have been resolved, she said.

Los Angeles-based AIDS Healthcare Foundation, the largest U.S. AIDS organization with 12 health clinics in the U.S. and two in Africa, has asked GlaxoSmithKline to donate drugs for 10,000 patients in Africa in order to settle the matter. The drugmaker refused, Weinstein said.

The Middlesex, England-based company doesn't believe that donating drugs is a sustainable policy, Pekarek said. The company sells its HIV drugs in African countries at a price that will cover its basic costs so that it will be able to provide them over a sustained period of time, she said.

In May, the AIDS Healthcare Foundation said it planned to bar GlaxoSmithKline drug sales representatives from its outpatient facilities in the U.S. to protest the drugmaker's pricing policies.

GlaxoSmithKline American depositary receipts, each representing two common shares, fell 5 cents to $43.14 Friday. They have fallen 23 percent in the past 12 months.

Copyright, Bloomberg L.P.

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