CA Lawmakers Call for Pension Funds' AIDS Effort Support

August 22, 2003 ( - The California Legislature has urged the Golden State's public pension funds to use shareholder resolutions to pressure drug companies developing HIV/AIDS medications to make them affordable in Africa and the developing world.

A press release from the AIDS Healthcare Foundation, which has been trying to pressure drugmaker GlaxoSmithKline to drop its AIDS drug prices in the developing world, praised California lawmakers for approving Senate Concurrent Resolution 11. The resolution includes a call for the California Public Employees Retirement System (CalPERS) and other public retirement plans such as the California State Teachers’ Retirement System (CalSTRS) to jump into the AIDS’ group’s fight.

“California now stands at the forefront of the movement to reduce AIDS drug prices so that millions of people living with HIV/AIDS worldwide may live,” said Michael Weinstein, president of AIDS Healthcare Foundation, in the statement.

According to the resolution, the retirement funds’ boards should initiate and back shareholder resolutions to “…impel pharmaceutical companies to develop and implement a policy, in consultation with the appropriate United Nations agencies and independent nongovernmental organizations, to provide HIV and AIDS drug treatments in a manner that would make those treatments affordable to those infected in lesser-developed countries.”