[Ip-health] Activists demand access to important cryptococcal meningitis drug

Lotti Rutter lotti at healthgap.org
Wed Jul 24 12:15:11 PDT 2019

*Apologies for cross posting*



Lotti Rutter (Health GAP): +27 82 065 5842 | lotti at healthgap.org

Othman Mellouk (ITPC): +212 666-452811 | omellouk at itpcglobal.org

Activists demand access to important cryptococcal meningitis drug


Mexico City (24 July) — At the International AIDS Society taking place in
Mexico City, AIDS activists protested Gilead’s inaction to make its
life-saving drugs available.

Nearly one year ago, Gilead announced its ‘access initiative’ promising
lower prices for its drug critical to treat cryptococcal meningitis, the
second leading killer of people living with HIV, which is responsible for
an estimated 15% of deaths. Without treatment, the infection of the brain
leads to painful death.

The commitment from Gilead was to offer the lower ‘non-profit’ price of USD
16.25 per vial liposomal amphotericin B (L-AmB) to 116 countries. However,
to date, the drug remains largely inaccessible in these countries.

The World Health Organization (WHO) recommends L-AmB as part of the
preferred treatment combination over alternative amphotericin formulations,
given its better side effects profile which could improve cure rates among
people living with HIV – but they note the challenges in price and
accessing it.

Gilead has registered the drug in only six of the 116 countries, and even
where it is registered, the drug is unavailable at an affordable price.
Among countries in sub-Saharan Africa, which is hit hardest by HIV, Gilead
has only registered the drug two countries: Ethiopia and South Africa.

In the countries where it is available, the private sector is the only
source. But these prices are exceedingly high: In India it costs USD 45 per
vial in the private market (via Mylan as Gilead’s exclusive distributor).
In South Africa, it costs USD 200 per vial in the private sector.

Activists demanded that Gilead commit to registering its drug in developing
countries and make good on the price commitment of USD 16.25 per vial. As a
matter of priority, Gilead should make use of the WHO Collaborative
Registration Procedure (CRP) in order to expedite national registration in
addition to applying for registration in countries not covered by the CRP.
In addition, the activists called for Gilead to be transparent about where
it has submitted for registration and timelines for future registration

Issued by Health GAP and International Treatment Preparedness Coalition

*Lotti Rutter*
Associate Director
International Policy & Advocacy
Health GAP

Cell: +27 82 065 5842 (South Africa)
Phone: +1 347 263 8438 x104 (US)
Twitter: @HealthGAP @lottirutter
Skype: lotti.rutter

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