JOTHI* Press Release (English translation):
Indonesia to Expand Access to AIDS and Hepatitis B Treatments
The rising number of HIV cases in the Indonesian community is growing beyond expectations. A series of prevention efforts that have relied on significant funds including international aid, have failed to achieve targets set for reducing the number of new HIV cases. At the same time, the number of AIDS cases has increased sharply.
Table 1: List of active substances, the name of the patent holders, patent numbers and duration of patent terms
An HIV infection will be recognized as AIDS if an AIDS related condition or symptom appears; symptoms of such infections are commonly referred to as concomitant infections. As of June 30, 3012, the number of people infected with HIV in Indonesia was reported as totaling 118,865 infections, 86,762 cases of HIV and 32,103 cases of HIV/AIDS cases. As a result of the speed with which the infection is spreading, the need for drugs that can control the HIV virus has become urgent.
Treatment of HIV has been recognized to be one of the most effective prevention methods, because each patient who is treated can stay healthy and it can safely be said that they will not transmit the virus to others. But there are serious challenges facing the treatment of HIV patients. If we employ a calculation commonly used by the WHO, it would appear that at least 79, 283 people taking part in HIV and AIDS programs in Indonesia are in need of HIV treatment. In March 2012, only 27, 175 people were still taking ARVs, meaning that only 1 out of 3 people in need of the drugs were receiving treatment.
Seeing the importance of HIV treatment for prevention and the preservation of lives, the Indonesia Network of People Living with HIV (JOTHI) led an advocacy effort in September 2009 to encourage the provision of HIV drugs in Indonesia. These efforts are supported by other organizations such as ITPC Indonesia and other partners, who provide support to the government of Indonesia to help map out possibilities for expanding access to AIDS treatment in Indonesia. For more than two years, advocacy efforts focused on issues ranging from access to treatment to the government’s right to use patents to produce essential medicine. These efforts helped encourage the formation of teams to design policies for ensuring supply of HIV drugs that were then submitted to the President.
The strong commitment of the Government of Indonesia to implement such policies is evidenced by the signing of Presidential Regulation No. 76 of 2012 which allows for the use of patents on 7 HIV and hepatitis B medicines. These regulations ensure the provision of essential medicines against AIDS and hepatitis B in Indonesia until 2024.
The Presidential Decree provides the Ministerof Health with the authority to appoint pharmaceutical companies to exploit the patents on the antiretroviral and antiviral drugs (summarized in the table above) for and on behalf of the government. The Presidential decree also revokes the provisions of Presidential Decree No. 83 of 2004 as amended by Presidential Decree No. 6 of 2007 on the implementation of the government use of patents on anti-retroviral treatments.
Presidential Regulation No. 76/2012 includes a larger number and variety of patents than previous decrees. The Presidential Decree No. 83/2004, allowed government use of patents on nevirapine and lamivudine until the end of their patent terms, October 31, 2011 and June 28, 2012 respectively. Presidential Decree No. 6 of 2007 allowed the government use of patents for efavirenz until August 7, 2013, the end of the patent term.
JOTHI expresses the highest appreciation for the seriousness of the Government of Indonesia’s actions with regards to HIV/AIDS, and in particular to President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, the late Minister of Health Mrs. Endang Sedyaningsih, the Minister of Health Mrs. Nafsiah Mboi, Minister of Justice Mr. Amir Syamsudin and many others who have supported efforts to expand access to treatment for AIDS and Hepatitis B. (JOTHI / SFP)
*JOTHI is the Indonesian Network of People Living with HIV