terça-feira, agosto 08, 2006
Glaxo quer (ainda mais) $$$
Bangkok/London, 7 August – Some five hundred Thai activists are today demonstrating outside the offices of Glaxo Smith Kline (GSK) in Bangkok to protest against the patent application for a key antiretroviral treatment. This action is being supported by a number of international and national organizations, including Médecins sans Frontières and Oxfam.
The drug, a combination of lamivudine and zidovudine, is part of the standard treatment for people with HIV/AIDS in Thailand. An affordable generic version, Zilavir®, is currently being manufactured by the Thai Government Pharmaceutical Organisation.
“Generic antiretroviral drugs are the basis of life-saving antiretroviral therapy relied upon by more than 80,000 people with HIV/AIDS currently receiving treatment in Thailand, ” says Mr.Wirat Purahong, Chairperson of the Thai Network of People Living with HIV/AIDS.
GSK currently sells this drug in Thailand, under the trade name Combid® (also known as Combivir®), at almost six times the price of the generic version. It can be expected that if a patent is granted, the Thai Government Pharmaceutical Organisation will no longer be able to produce this generic version, and GSK’s price can be expected to rise further in the absence of competition.
The granting of a patent for Combid® will also affect the patent status of the Thai Government Pharmaceutical Organisation's GPO-vir Z®, a three-drug combination of lamivudine, zidovudine and nevirapine. “This will have disastrous consequences for the government's ambitious treatment programme” says Dr Achara Eksaengsri, Deputy Director of Research and Development at the Government Pharmaceutical Organisation.
An alliance of HIV/AIDS groups, lawyers, academics and pharmacists, has lodged a legal objection to GSK’s patent application on the grounds that simply combining two medicines does not constitute an invention, and therefore does not deserve a patent. Other antiretroviral patents have been overruled on these grounds, both in Thailand and elsewhere. The case is ongoing.
“GSK's patent application will do nothing to improve access to treatment” says Dr. David Wilson, Medical Coordinator for Médecins sans Frontières in Thailand. “If the company is seriously concerned about people with HIV/AIDS in Thailand, it must withdraw its patent application immediately. Otherwise it is clearly putting profit over people’s lives.”
Contact: Nathan Ford, MSF Bangkok, Mobile +66 90 414 565
Kannikar Kijtiwatchakul, MSF Bangkok, Mobile +66 50 708 954