Patents making new HIV/AIDS medicines ‘beyond reach’: MSF

Monday, July 8, 2013

KUALA LUMPUR — New potentially life-saving HIV drugs are “beyond reach” due to restrictive patents, Doctors Without Borders (MSF) said Tuesday, even though basic medication for the disease has become cheaper.

The international medical humanitarian organization said it was good news that the price of drugs used as first- and second-line treatments had fallen by 19 and 28 percent respectively since last year.

But “salvage regimens” — drugs used as a last resort after these first two steps fail — cost 15 times as much as first-line medicines, according to an MSF statement at the International AIDS Society conference in the Malaysian capital.

“Patents keep them priced beyond reach. We need to watch carefully as newer, better medicines reach the market in the coming years, as these are the drugs that we’ll quickly be needing to roll out. The price question is far from resolved,” said Jennifer Cohn, medical director at MSF’s Access Campaign.

According to MSF, first-line treatment — which has the highest efficacy against a low side-effect profile — can cost as little as US$139 per person per year, down from US$172.

Source: The China Post (link opens in a new window)

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