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Hostage taking on a grand scale

8 August 2008

The Asociación Mexicana de Laboratorios y la Industria Químico-Farmacéutica de Occidente, the pharmaceutical manufacturers association, is claiming 40,000 jobs are at risk… and it’s the government’s fault. Why? Because Abbot Laboratories wants to charge full price for anti-retroviral drugs, and the Secretariat of Public Health has said they’ll substitute lower-priced generic medication rather than pay the inflated price.

Full disclosure:  A couple of us did an over-the-weekend translation of the entire documentation required for the United States Securities and Exchange Commission under the Sarbanes-Oxley Act for the Mexican subsidiary of Abbot Labs.  The complex documentation had been ignored by Abbot’s management until the last possible minute, when the documents were written by a secretary who received no instructions or guidelines on the SEC requirements.  While she did a better-than-expected job, there were huge gaps in the required data, and the sections outlining fiscal responsiblity was thrown together by some manager, who didn’t know how funds were handled, and just threw in things like “Pedro and Maria check the numbers,” which was unacceptable.  I know… I’d done both ISO and SEC documentation when I was a technical writer.  Four of us worked 20 hours a day to translate the thing, and I edited it to SEC standards, as well as homogated the four different translations into a single document.  We got it back to Abbot on time, and then, using the excuse that the manager who contracted our services had been fired for fucking up the job in the first place, Abbot just decided not to pay us.  I’m still owed about 9000 pesos, but doubt I’ll ever see a centavo of it.  They’re bastards.

Not like they’re hurting for money.   If the Asociación honestly believes that generics are a threat to Mexican public health, then they can lower their prices.  They’re dicks when it comes to small contractors (I’m not the only one who was screwed over… I met some computer supply people who refused to make deliveries to Abbot Labs of things like paper and printers unless they were paid up-front in cash), but they can afford the big stuff. The company’s sales are up 15% over the last quarter, and it’s net income rose to  1.32 billion dollars.

Jacking around a few contractors is one thing… taking a country’s national health hostage is another.    Abbot has pulled this stunt in Brazil and Thailand among other places.  Brazil and Thailand have a respectable generic pharmaceutical industry as a result.  Not to mention they make capitalists look like cartoon villians.  Fuck ’em.

2 Comments leave one →
  1. 8 August 2008 2:19 pm

    its crazy that stuff like this really happens its so lame

  2. Mr. Rushing permalink
    9 August 2008 4:56 pm

    They will eventually fail as an entity unless corporate wealfare bails them out. You can only short change people so many times…

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