AIDS drug could see mandatory licensing By Shan Juan (China Daily) Updated: 2011-06-25 07:20

June 25, 2011 at 12:40 pm | Posted in china, drug, hiv | Leave a comment

Governmenthopestokeepcostslowforexpansionofpreventiveprogram

BEIJING-ChinaisconsideringmandatorylicensingtosecurecheaperdrugsforHIV/AIDSpatients,particularlyasthenation’shealthauthorityispreparingtoexpandcoverageforthepreventiveantiretroviraltherapy(ART).

Verysoon,coupleswithonepartnerhavingHIV/AIDSandtheotherbeingnegative-estimatedat30,000onthemainland-willbeofferedfreeART,HaoYang,deputydirectorofthediseasepreventionandcontrolbureauattheMinistryofHealth,toldChinaDailyinanexclusiveinterview.

Currentlyonlyfull-blownAIDSpatientsaregiventhat.

StudieshavefoundthatifanHIV-infectedpersonwhohasnotdevelopedfull-blownAIDSadherestoaneffectiveARTregimen,theriskoftransmittingthevirustotheiruninfectedsexualpartnercanbereducedby96percent.

ThenotionofearlytreatmentforpreventionishighlyrecommendedbytheWorldHealthOrganizationandUNAIDS.

ChineseexpertswiththeMinistryofHealtharenowbusydraftinganewprotocolandorganizingtrainingformedicalworkersandcommunity-basedorganizations,Haosaid.

“Onceinpractice,thedrugsupplyhastobetremendouslyincreasedandtosecureaffordableAIDSinterventionwedon’truleoutthepossibilityofissuingcompulsorylicensingforpatentedpharmaceuticalsneededforART,”hesaid.

LastJanuary,Chinaamendedapatentregulationtogiveacleardefinitionof”patentedpharmaceuticals”thataresubjecttocompulsorylicensing.

YinXintian,directorofthelegalaffairsdepartmentoftheStateIntellectualPropertyOffice,saidthemoveaimedtomakethecompulsorylicensingsystemcompatiblewiththeneedtocopewithpublichealthcrisesandbenefitthepeople.

Chinahasanestimated740,000peoplelivingwithHIV/AIDSonthemainlandand100,000full-blownAIDSpatientsareonARTtreatmentprovidedfreebythegovernment,officialstatisticsshow.

However,MarkStirling,countrycoordinatoroftheUNAIDSChinaOffice,saidthatasChina’sneedforthedrugincreasessubstantiallyduetoexpandedtreatmentforprevention,thegovernmentcouldbargainwithinternationalsuppliersforalowerprice.

“Stakeholdersincludingthegovernment,community-basedorganizationsanddomesticpharmaceuticalcompaniesshouldfirstbeorganizedtolookatthecostofcompulsorylicensing,”hesaid.

Besidescostconcerns,effortsneedtobemadeincommunitymobilizationandadapteddeliverysystemstoputthenewnotionintopracticeinChina,saidNicoleSeguy,HIVMedicalOfficeroftheWHOBeijingOffice.

WuZunyou,directoroftheNationalCenterforAIDSandSexuallyTransmittedDiseasesControlandPrevention,concededthatChinastillfaceschallengesincludingpatienteducationanddoctortraining.

“Medicalworkershavetobetrainedtopersuadesuffererswhohaveyetdevelopedanysymptomstotakethemedicines,whichtosomeextentbringcertainsideeffects,”hesaid.

Heurgedcivilsocietiesthathaveaspecialapproachtoreachthesuffererstoparticipateinthecampaign.

ThomasCai,whoheadsAIDSCareChina,aGuangzhou-basedNGOthatprovidessupporttopatientsandtheirfamilies,said: “Civilsocietieswouldhelpfacilitateamoresufferer-centeredapproachforthenewmove.”

ChinaDaily

(ChinaDaily06/25/2011 page1)

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