[Ip-health] The Hindu: Global fund to help solve India’s HIV drug crisis

Thiru Balasubramaniam thiru at keionline.org
Tue Mar 14 04:01:06 PDT 2017



Global fund to help solve India’s HIV drug crisis

Vidya Krishnan

Health Ministry releases ₹6 crore to pay Cipla Pharma

After running out of the child-friendly HIV syrup, Lopinavir, India is
likely to procure the drug from a rapid supply facility routed through the
Global Fund for AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria (GFATM), a multilateral
donor agency.

Meanwhile, the Health Ministry on Tuesday released the first installment of
the ₹6 crore payment due to Cipla Pharmaceuticals — the sole manufacturer
of the drug. While the immediate crisis triggered by unpaid bills is being
sorted, the shortage of the drug itself still looms large over India’s
national HIV programme. India has a cohort of over 600 children who require
36,000 bottles of Lopinavir syrup annually.

Speaking to The Hindu, Dr. Denis Broun, Global Director for access and
public affairs at Cipla Pharmaceuticals, clarified that the company did not
have a position in principle that they ever participate in government
tenders. “Cipla has been supplying anti retrovirals to governments and we
have been upfront with our issues of payments over the past several months.
The last payment was the proverbial straw that broke the camel’s back,”
said Dr. Broun.

“We did not participate in the last tender because of the payment issues.
We understand that the government is trying to sort out the financial
situation and I want to clarify that we do not have a position, in
principle, that we will not participate in government bidding.”

A relief

In what is a relief to HIV community, he added that Cipla Pharmaceuticals
will be re-submitting the application seeking registration of the Lopinavir
pellets — a better paediatric formulation as it can be added to meals and
will not require refrigeration.

The Drug Controller General of India (DCGI) is likely to give the approvals
accelerated attention, given the dire shortage.

The developments follow a March 6 report by The Hindu, ‘India runs out of
life-saving HIV drug for children’, that 637 children living with HIV
(CLHIV) ranging from ages 3 to 19, had written to Prime Minister Narendra
Modi after Cipla stopped production of the drug due to non-payment of bills
from 2014. Upset with continued non-payment, Cipla Pharmaceuticals had
stopped participating in government tenders, resulting in the current

The Health Ministry has maintained that the supply of Lopinavir should
resume by the end of this week, informed Arun Panda, Additional Secretary,
Ministry of Health and Family Welfare.

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