[Ip-health] Pharmalot: China Eyes Mandatory Licensing For AIDS Meds
thiru at keionline.org
Fri Jul 8 07:53:28 PDT 2011
China Eyes Mandatory Licensing For AIDS Meds
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By Ed Silverman // July 5th, 2011 // 7:18 am
China may use mandatory licensing to secure cheaper drugs for HIV/AIDS patients as the nation’s health authority prepares to expand coverage. Drugs will be offered free to couples in which one partner has HIV/AIDS and the other is negative, which are estimated to be 30,000 on the mainland, Hao Yang, deputy director of the disease prevention and control bureau at the Ministry of Health, tells China Daily. Currently, only full-blown AIDS patients receive this.
Chinese experts with the Ministry of Health are now busy drafting a new protocol and organizing training for medical workers and community-based organizations, according to Hao. “Once in practice, the drug supply has to be tremendously increased and to secure affordable AIDS intervention, we don’t rule out the possibility of issuing compulsory licensing for patented pharmaceuticals needed” for antiretroviral therapy, he tells the paper.
Last January, China amended a patent regulation to give a clear definition of “patented pharmaceuticals” that are subject to compulsory licensing. Yin Xintian, director of the legal affairs department of the State Intellectual Property Office, tells the paper the move would make the compulsory licensing system compatible with the need to cope with public health crises.
China has an estimated 740,000 people living with HIV/AIDS on the mainland and 100,000 full-blown AIDS patients are on ART treatment provided free by the government, according to the paper, citing official statistics.
Mark Stirling, country coordinator of the UNAIDS China Office, says the government could bargain over prices with international suppliers as the need for drugs increases due to expanded treatment for prevention. “Stakeholders including the government, community-based organizations and domestic pharmaceutical companies, should first be organized to look at the cost of compulsory licensing,” he tells the paper.
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