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227 million soap bubbles will be released by court

On September 19, at 9:30 a.m. near the Kyiv Economic Court of Appeal (1 Sholudenko St.), patients will release 227,000,000 soap bubbles, because it will be the amount the state overpays for a branded drug for HIV-positive patients in 2017!

In Ukraine, for thirteen years, a manufacturing company has maintained a monopoly on the drug that patients receive at a price of innovative one. Meanwhile, generic versions of more modern drugs at a lower price are already available in the world.

Patients appeal to judges to stop inflating a giant soap bubble and take sides of 125 000 people with HIV, whose lives depend on their decision. Patients demand to send patents for examination in order to end the monopoly on this drug!

A press briefing will take place before the event

Serhiy Dmitriev, Policy and Advocacy Director of the All-Ukrainian Network of PLWH.

Serhiy Kondratiuk, Expert on Intellectual Property and Access to Treatment.

Oleksandra Volgina, Activist, HIV Patient (she takes this very brand drug “Aluvia”).

During the event near the building of the Kyiv Economic Court of Appeal, activists will release into the sky a cloud of the most expensive soap bubbles in the world, demonstrating in such a way how Ukraine has to cast millions of hryvnias to the wind.

The court session will begin on September 19, at 10:15 a.m., at the Kyiv Economic Court of Appeal located at the address: 1 Sholudenko Street.

To the attention of journalists who want to be present in the court session: the case number is 910/10050/16 under the chairmanship of the judge Serhiy Sotnikov (the court room number 3).

The session is extremely important because the company AbbVie Inc. as the owner of the patents tries to delay the trial that will give the company opportunity to sell the drug again at three times higher price in 2017. At the session, the court will decide whether it will require an examination of patents for compliance with the law or refuse a patient organization to protect the rights of HIV-positive Ukrainians for affordable treatment.

briefing note

Because of formal patents, cheaper analogues of HIV drugs can not enter the Ukrainian market and, therefore, 125 000 Ukrainians can not receive treatment.

On the case: On May 31, 2016, the All-Ukrainian Network of People Living with HIV/AIDS filed a lawsuit in the Kyiv Economic Court of Appeal to hold the patent for lopinavir/ritonavir (Aluvia) invalid. The claims of the Network of PLHA are based on the following: the disputed patents do not meet the requirements of the legislation on novelty and inventive level, and the legal monopoly of the company-patent holder (AbbVie Inc., USA) allows it to overprice the drug. As a result, the state and donors are currently spending $ 19.5 million yearly to buy only the lopinavir/ritonavir, providing 26 000 HIV patients. In case of the patents cancellation, it will be possible to buy this drug at three times lower price spending $ 6 million per year. This will potentially allow free treatment for 125 000 more patients with HIV.

On March 6, 2017, the Kyiv Economic Court of Appeal dismissed the lawsuit even without scheduling examination of patents compliance with the requirements of the legislation. Reasons for dismissal are as follow: the disputed patents do not violate the rights or the interests protected by law of the plaintiff as a patient organization and, according to judges’ opinion, it is not proved that in the case of patents cancellation the price of the drug will be reduced. These reasons for dismissal are completely unjustified and controversial from a legal point of view.

On May 11, 2017, the first session of the Kyiv Economic Court of Appeal caused a great public interest due to its importance for the public health of Ukraine. Representatives of the pharmaceutical company did not appear in court, but they submitted a written request for postponement of legal proceedings until 6 months. Suddenly, the court panel decided to satisfy the defendant’s request and postpone the trial until six months, i.e., until November 16.

The Network of PLWH has appealed the Kyiv Economic Court of Appeal against such an unreasonably long postponement of the case proceedings. The court took patients’ side and revoked the decision of the Court of Appeal to postpone the consideration of the case until six months. The new hearing was scheduled for September19.

Contact persons:

Lesia Rybachenko, +38 098 456 69 79, l.rybachenko@prhouse.com.ua.

Anastasia Bondarchuk, +38 097 394 49 56, a.bondarchuk@prhouse.com.ua.

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