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.