Global Action To Open Generic Competition For Key AIDS Drug

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Public health advocates in a dozen countries worldwide have launched a coordinated campaign to bring about generic competition on a key medicine for HIV/AIDS, currently under patent by a pharmaceutical producer.

The groups on 10 November began bringing legal and policy challenges to Abbott Laboratories’ patent monopoly on lopinavir+ritonavir (also known as Kaletra or Aluvia).

The goal, they said in a press release, is “to spur competition by generic drugmakers and thereby lower the medicine’s price, as well as to free up its components for new and improved combination treatments.”

Countries include Brazil, China, Colombia, Ecuador, India, Indonesia, Malaysia, Peru, St Maartens, Thailand, United States, and Vietnam. Groups in those countries are sending letters, filing lawsuits and taking other actions.

“These medicines can be manufactured cheaply where patent barriers can be overcome,” Peter Maybarduk, director of the Global Access to Medicines Program at Public Citizen, said in the release. “Licensing and competition could spur the development of new and improved ritonavir-based combination treatments against HIV/AIDS. If patent holders and the pharmaceutical industry will not negotiate, then health advocates will pursue compulsory measures to break their monopolies on lifesaving medicines.”

Details of the campaign are here:

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