In spite of a 35% price reduction, a compulsory license must be applied for Atazanavir in Perú

In spite of a 35% price reduction, a compulsory license must be applied for Atazanavir in Perú

Licencia Obligatoria mediano web

The Peruvian Ministry of Health informed that it has reached an agreement with Bristol Myers Squibb laboratories for a 35% price reduction over the Atazanavir blister, an essential drug to treat people living with HIV/AIDS. This measure helps to avoid the medicine’s shortage announced for this month, but the monopoly generated by the current patent held by the lab remains, forcing Perú to pay thirteen times more than the cost the generic version has in countries where there is no patent.

The organized communities in Perú and Latinamerica have been warning about this situation for at least two years, also reaching authorities asking them to use the safeguards included in national laws –one of which is the compulsory license- to priorize access to medicines, the human right to health and an efficient use of public resources over commercial interests.

Javier Llamoza, member of Acción Internacional para la Salud (AIS) and RedLAM, recently stated in La República newspaper that “A compulsory license is not an expropriation and is part of the TPA with the USA (…) There are no reasons not to declare Atazanavir of public interest. The Peruvian State cannot waste the citizen’s health resources, taking into account the deficiencies our public health system has “.
Law 28243 declares the fight against HIV/AIDS a national necessity and of public interest, establishing the state’s obligation to provide all necessary medications as well. That’s why the Consumer’s Defense Comission of the Peruvian Congress and NGO’s ask for Atazanavir to also be declared of public interest, so a compulsory license is declared for the drug, allowing multiple providers to enter the market and therefore reducing its price to a much lower figure. The decree that declares Atazanavir a public interest drug was proposed by the Ministry of Health in January this year, and it has been awaiting approval from the Executive since. However, the Economy and External Commerce ministers’ denial prevents the compulsory license’ passing that would help the peruvian state to avoid the resources’ waste.

It’s important to mention that the peruvian government has had many proposals to buy Atazanavir at less than U$S2.50 per blister. In March this year, Colombian lab HUMAX sent a proposal stating the cost at U$S 2.32 per blister. With a compulsory license promoting more than one provider this could have reduced the price up to 75% less.

The Grupo Impulsor de Vigilancia para el Abastecimiento de Medicamentos Antirretrovirales (GIVAR) declared that “Even though the american lab Bristol Myers Squibb lowered Atazanavir´s price, the peruvian state will still buy said product at a cost thirteen times higher than the same drug has in Bolivia “. In that country, there is no patent over Atazanavir. Julio Cruz Requenes, the national coordinator for the Red Peruana de Pacientes y Usuarios, stated that “The 35% price reduction could have been much more with a compulsory license (…) allowing other labs to enter the market and offer better prices. It is clear that the government is biased to favor the commercial relation with the american lab, leaving the human beings aside “.