Letter from Richard Stern, Director of the Agua Buena Human Rights Association, to Mark G. Yudof, President of the University of Minesota

April 13, 2001

Mark Yudof
University of Minnesota
Minneapolis, Minnesota
Fax: 612-625-3875
Dear Mr. Yudof,

For the past five years I have directed the Agua Buena Human Rights Association here in San Jos=E9 Costa Rica. Our main focus in on access to medical treatment for people Living with HIV/AIDS, including anti-retroviral medications.

I have recently been informed that the University of Minnesota is the patent holder on compounds used to produce the drug abacavir.

The outrageously high prices of anti-retroviral medications is a reality which we in Central America assumed was the result of policies of multi-national pharmaceutical companies. Now, students at the University of Minnesota have informed us, that the University is also profiting from the prices of these medications. It is shocking to me personally that a University would be involved in this situation, which is really of genocidal proportions.

Mr. Yudof, if you have been ill, you have probably always been in the privileged position of receiving the medical care that you needed. Possibly, you cannot imagine how horrible it is that people should suffer and die for the lack a few tiny pills whose cost is so greatly inflated that they cannot afford it. This is wrong, and will be recorded by history as one of the great injustices of these times.

I am a Mid-Westerner, born and raised in Chicago, educated at the University of Michigan, and hopefully familiar with the world in which you now live, a world in which practically all people are able to get the medical care that they need.

Please do not allow the University of Minnesota to continue with policies that are responsible for denying medical treatment to people in developing countries.


Richard Stern, Ph.D.
Director, Agua Buena Human Rights Association
San Jos=E9 Costa Rica
Tel/Fax 506-234-2411

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