ANIMAL rights supporters will be marching through Horsham in West Sussex on Saturday October 31 against pharmaceutical giant Novartis, which has a large site in the town.
Explained a Sussex Action for Animals spokesperson: "This facility holds primates, guinea pigs and rabbits which are all used in horrific tests for Novartis' commercial products. As well as this, Novartis pay for even more tests to be carried out at the notorious Huntingdon Life Sciences.
"The protest will be meeting midday at Horsham Park, behind the Pavilions Recreation Centre. There will be a march through Horsham going to Novartis where we will stop for a demo."
Novartis International AG is a multinational pharmaceutical company based in Basel, Switzerland, ranking number one in revenues, which accounted over $53 billion in 2008, and number three in sales, which accounted 36.172 billon in 2008.
It is not just over animal rights that it has faced criticism.
In 2006, Novartis launched a court case against India seeking to prohibit the country from developing generic drugs based on patented medicines. Novartis had challenged a law that allows India to refuse to recognize a patent for an existing medicine if there is a modified formula resulting in a re-patent of the drug. On August 5, 2007 an Indian court in Chennai ruled against Novartis saying that, "Novartis’ legal challenge - mounted to limit competition to its own patented medicines - was a threat to people suffering from cancer, HIV and AIDS, diabetes and other diseases who are too poor to pay for them." The high court also claimed to have no jurisdiction on whether Indian Patent law complied with WTO patent guidelines.
And in June this year, Novartis defied the World Health Organization and some of its corporate peers by ruling out a donation to the poor of vaccines to counter the latest flu pandemic, and saying developing nations or donor nations should cover the costs. Daniel Vasella, Novartis chief executive, told the Financial Times that he would consider offering discounted pricing to low-income nations, but unlike other drug companies, including GlaxoSmithKline, would not offer vaccines for free.
In the months leading up to the hearing, over half a million people wrote to the CEO of Novartis expressing their opposition to the suit. Novartis has decided not to appeal the ruling.
Despite the imminent arrival of hundreds of protesters in Horsham on Saturday, the local media seem to have decided to pretend the event is not happening.
Why not contact them and ask them why?
Main local paper The West Sussex County Times - 01403 751296 firstname.lastname@example.org
Local freesheet The Resident - 01403 250691 email@example.com
Daily regional covering Horsham The Argus - 01273 544544 firstname.lastname@example.org