Thursday, May 29, 2014

Hepatitis Warrior Hiking in China Shows Glaxo Hurdles

Lei Chuang trekked almost 1,000 miles over 80 days from Shanghai to Beijing last summer, along riverbanks and highways, to deliver a petition beseeching China’s leaders to cut the prices of hepatitis B drugs.

The 27-year-old activist, who contracted the virus as a child from a reused vaccination needle, is planning another round of campaigning. This time he’s putting the spotlight on GlaxoSmithKline Plc (GSK), the British drugmaker under government investigation in China for bribery.

China’s middle class increasingly is taking to the streets or the Internet to voice discontent on issues from pollution to wages. As frustration with the health system rises, patients like Lei are pushing the government and drugmakers to reduce costs and improve the quality of care.

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