Indonesian Government Takes Bold Stance to Reduce Costs of AIDS Medications, Potentially Saving Thousands of Lives

Oct. 11, 2012

Indonesian Government Takes Bold Stance to Reduce Costs of AIDS Medications, Potentially Saving Thousands of Lives

Statement of Peter Maybarduk, Director, Public Citizen’s Global Access to Medicines Program

With a single decree, Indonesian President Dr. H. Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono has taken a quiet but exceptionally important step to expand access to medicines, potentially saving and improving the lives of tens of thousands of people living with HIV/AIDS and hepatitis B. If fully implemented, the measure will introduce widespread competition from generic versions of pricey brand-name drugs and generate major cost savings in the world’s fourth-most populous country.

Indonesia’s action sets a powerful example for other countries and a critical precedent for global public health. The decree licenses patents for a slate of HIV medicines and represents one of the most robust uses of pharmaceutical patent licensing power ever used by a country.

By taking such a bold stance, President Yudhoyono and all of Indonesia can take great pride in standing up for the right of those suffering from HIV/AIDS and hepatitits B to get the medicine they need. This action is part of an effort to greatly expand access to newer and more useful antiviral and antiretroviral treatments in Indonesia.

Public Citizen has provided technical assistance to patient advocates in Indonesia on this issue. We congratulate the work of Sindi Putri and Abdullah Denovan, as well as their colleagues at International Treatment Preparedness Coalition Indonesia and JOTHI, among other organizations, who are helping advance access to these important medications in Indonesia.

For more information, including a copy of the decree (in Indonesian and a rough unofficial English translation), analysis, a table of the licensed medicines and more on Indonesia’s response to HIV and hepatitis B, visit www.citizen.org/actions-indonesia.

To read more about the global campaign to improve access to second-line HIV/AIDS treatment, visit www.citizen.org/Kaletra-campaign.