Fundación Grupo Efecto Positivo (FGEP) celebrates the recent acquisition of the generic version of TDF+FTC+EFV, important public measure to guarantee sustainability of AIDS Public Program.
Buenos Aires September the 2nd, 2015- During a meeting of PLHIV and other members of the civil society, the head of the National AIDS Program (NAP) of the National Ministry of Health in Argentina, Dr Carlos Falistocco, confirmed the purchase of generic version of TDF+FTC+EFV (brand name: “Atripla®”) from the indian laboratory CIPLA. Such purchase implies a reduction of the price of the medicine, that goes from AR$90 (U$S 9,78) per pill offered by GILEAD to AR$4 (U$S 0,38) per pill. This implies a significant positive impact on the sustainability of the public program that procurers free medicines for PLWH.
The decision about purchasing the generic version from India took place after reiterate interventions that FGEP has been implementing for the last years. FGEP hold meetings with national authorities of NAP as well as released statements highlighting exorbitant prices the pharmaceutical company Gilead have charged and raising awareness about the potential savings that the country could obtain if purchasing of indian generics. Such actions were supported by a pre-grant opposition that FGEP filed in December 2013 against the patent application on TDF+FTC+EFV sought by Gilead Sciences and Bristol Myers Squibb at the argentine patent office. FGEP augmented and proved that the application filed by these companies do not meet patentability requirements of novelty, inventive step and industrial application. The three active ingredients included in this key first line one-per-day-pill combination of drugs is in public domain and, according to the argentine patent law, it cannot be claimed in a patent application.
The patent application is currently pending of examination at the National Institute of Industrial Property (INPI). FGEP has warned repeatedly about the urgency in resolving the case due to the current relevance to public health of these drugs.
According to the Ministry of Health, the purchase of the generic version of TDF+FTC+EFV from the laboratory CIPLA means public savings of AR$ 181.026.130 (almost US$ 20 million) that can be allocated for treating more people as well as to other urgent needs of the health care system.
The head of the NAP confirmed that the purchase intends to guarantee the sustainability of the program for 2016.
The decision is an important background which shows the way forward to guarantee treatment for all who need it in Argentina.