Friday, August 31, 2001

Dr. German Velasquez, head of the drug action programme at the World Health Organisation, is coordinating a WHO investigation into the pharmaceutical industry's pricing of life-saving drugs in developing countries. He was attacked in Rio de Janeiro and had his arm slashed with a knife. He was attacked in Miami by two men who waved a pistol, threatened him with death and kicked him to the ground, and expressly told him: "We hope you learned the lesson of Rio. Stop criticising the pharmaceutical industry." Finally he was threatened twice by telephone at his home in France by a man who expressly related the treats to Miami. So just what is the connection between organized crime and the pharmaceutical industry?