P.M. BRIEFING : 4 Seized Protesting AIDS Drug Cost

From Times wire services

Four activists were arrested today after they sealed themselves in an office at the Burroughs Wellcome Inc. headquarters to protest the price of an AIDS drug.

"We've been trying to deal with this company for two years," said activist Peter Staley, 28, a former Wall Street bond trader who has AIDS-related symptoms, as the four men were led in shackles from the building 45 minutes after the takeover began.

The pharmaceutical company produces Retrovir, which costs patients or their insurers $8,000 to $10,000 a year, making it the most expensive drug ever marketed. The drug is the only U.S. government-approved medicine aimed at halting the virus that causes AIDS.

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