Bristol-Myers Urged Not To Close French Plant

LONDON (AP) -- Officials urged Bristol-Myers Squibb not to shut down a plant in France which makes AIDS drugs, saying the move will jeopardize the lives of thousands of babies.

In a letter published in the journal Lancet on Monday, officials at UNITAID, which buys drugs for AIDS, Oxfam and others said they were deeply concerned that Bristol-Myers Squibb Co. is planning to close a French factory that makes didanosine, an AIDS drug for children weighing less than 10 kilograms.

The officials said the factory's closure would leave up to 7,000 babies with HIV currently in treatment programs without the drugs. "Without it, they could die," wrote the experts in an open letter to Bristol-Myers. There are currently no cheap alternatives to didanosine available.

More in Operations