In­done­sia seeks to re­as­sure HIV pa­tients over in­com­ing drug short­age fears

Global Times - - WORLD -

In­done­sia’s health min­istry has sought to re­as­sure HIV pa­tients that suf­fi­cient an­tiretro­vi­ral (ARV) drugs will be avail­able for their treat­ment af­ter some hos­pi­tals had run out of sup­plies.

At least 29 hos­pi­tals and health cen­tres in In­done­sia had ex­hausted their stocks of a par­tic­u­lar type of ARV, known as a fixed-dose com­bi­na­tion of Teno­fovir, Lamivudin, and Efavirens (TLE), Aditya Ward­hana of the In­done­sia AIDS Coali­tion, a non­govern­men­tal or­ga­ni­za­tion, told a news con­fer­ence.

The health min­istry con­firmed that a ten­der to pro­cure some ARV drugs last year had failed, but said it had im­ported some of the TLE through The Global Fund, an in­ter­na­tional fi­nanc­ing or­ga­ni­za­tion to fight AIDS, Tu­ber­cu­lo­sis and Malaria.

Still, the In­done­sia AIDS Coali­tion called for more emer­gency pur­chases via the fund, and urged Pres­i­dent Joko Wi­dodo to in­ter­vene.

More than 300,000 pa­tients in In­done­sia re­lied on ARV doses last year, ac­cord­ing to health min­istry data.

Engko Sosia­line Mag­da­lene, di­rec­tor­gen­eral of phar­ma­ceu­ti­cal and med­i­cal de­vices at the min­istry, said the coun­try has enough fixed-dose ARV to last un­til May.

“A ten­der will start next month, so it will not im­pact our stocks,” Mag­da­lene said Satur­day.

She said in the mean­time pa­tients un­able to ob­tain the drug could use pills con­tain­ing sim­i­lar in­gre­di­ents and there was suf­fi­cient stock un­til De­cem­ber.

Should the up­com­ing ten­der fail to be met by April, the health min­istry had se­cured an ad­di­tional 560,000 bot­tles of the sep­a­rate TLE pills from the fund, Mag­da­lene said.

Some pa­tients, how­ever, are con­cerned about po­ten­tially chang­ing their med­i­ca­tion. “Clearly we are ter­ri­fied,” HIV pa­tient Baby Rivona Na­su­tion told the news con­fer­ence hosted by the In­done­sia AIDS Coali­tion. She has been us­ing ARV med­i­ca­tion for the past decade.

“Will I still be alive or not by the end of the year?”

Ward­hana of the In­done­sia AIDS Coali­tion said the is­sue of ob­tain­ing the drugs dis­trib­uted in the coun­try by phar­ma­ceu­ti­cal com­pa­nies Kimia Farma and Ind­o­farma Global Medika may be due to high prices.

Ac­cord­ing to Mag­da­lene, pro­cure­ment reg­u­la­tions meant the min­istry “could not ac­cess with such prices.”

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