October 23, 2003 – The sordid history of Australia’s deals to ‘facilitate’ the Clinton Foundation’s access to Asia
23 October 2003 The Clinton Foundation announced that it had negotiated price reductions for the supply of HIV/Aids drugs with the following companies:
- Aspen Pharmacare Holdings Ltd., of Johannesburg, South Africa;
- Cipla Ltd., of Mumbai, India;
- Ranbaxy Laboratories Ltd., of Delhi, India; and
- Matrix Laboratories Ltd., of Hyderabad, India.
The agreement covered antiretroviral drugs (ARVs) for delivery to African countries and the Caribbean through the Clinton Foundation HIV/AIDS Initiative. Business for those pharma companies went through the roof.
The deal with Clinton was very good for him.
He sold most of Matrix to the US pharma company Mylan and by 2006 had taken his initial investment of Indian Rs. 30Million ($500K AUD) to 5.7Billion ($110M AUD).
In 2012 he was charged with corruption and jailed for 17 months.
Ranbaxy’s history is worse. By 2004 Ranbaxy was on notice of a formal investigation by the World Health Organisation over the sale by Ranbaxy of adulterated and worthless drugs labelled as the genuine article. In May 2013 Ranbaxy paid a record fine of USD $5ooM to settle the US Department of Justice criminal complaints. As the final US DoJ details settling the long running and very public case against Ranbaxy were completed, Bill Clinton jetted off to India to give what he thought was a private paid speech praising Ranbaxy and its executives.
Australia is implicated in the Ranbaxy scandal. On 23 March 2013 a DFAT official wrote to me:
“Prior to 2013, a small amount of Australian aid money was expended on Ranbaxy pharmaceutical products in Papua New Guinea to support the PNG Government’s health programs.”
Media Liaison Officer
Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade
At least $100M of taxpayer funded Australian aid money has been used in the purchase of pharmaceuticals under a relationship established between the Clinton Foundation and the Australian Government in February 2006. That is in addition to amounts donated directly to the Clinton Foundation.