INDONESIA: Government Acts To Ignore Patents On HIV Medications
The government of Indonesia has told local pharmaceutical companies that they may ignore international patents on several HIV medications. Reuters reports:
President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono quietly issued a decree last month authorizing government use of patents for seven HIV/AIDS and hepatitis B medicines held by the likes of Merck & Co, GlaxoSmithKline, Bristol-Myers Squibb, Abbott and Gilead. The international trade body representing major drugmakers said the move set “a negative precedent”. Individual companies affected did not provide immediate comment. The decree states Indonesia implemented the measures to “meet the urgent need for antiviral and antiretroviral treatments”. An estimated 310,000 people are living with HIV in Indonesia, Southeast Asia’s largest economy. The prevalence rate among the 15 to 49-year-old population is 0.2 percent, according to 2009 statistics from the U.N. Aids website. Unreported cases mean that the true figure could be higher.Indonesia has twice before allowed patented HIV drugs to be manufactured locally. The new directive covers the latest and most effective medications.