Expert appointed by the court “burned” 370 million state hryvnias
HIV-positive Ukrainians and activists of the largest patients’ organization CO “100%Life” (former CO “The Network”) demanded from judges to conduct an examination of patents for the HIV medicines Lopinavir/Ritonavir (Aluvia), that could not be completed for nearly a year.
The fate of 138,000 HIV-infected patients who are waiting for completion of the process and access to cheaper treatment depends on this decision. Currently, Ukraine has to buy a branded HIV drug, Lopinavir/Ritonavir (Aluvia), from the only manufacturer, the pharmaceutical company AbbVie. Until the expiry of the patents for Lopinavir/Ritonavir (Aluvia), other cheaper drugs cannot enter our market. The monopoly producer continues exclusive use of “evergreen” patents without changing the current formula of medicine and investing in truly valuable scientific developments.
“By its delay, the court blocked treatment of 138,000 HIV patients. It’s just a crime, because patients who need treatment today cannot wait for such a long examination. We require to appoint a new expert and immediately start an examination of the novelty of the drug manufactured by AbbVie. After all, the expert appointed by the court a year ago, has not yet completed the work,” said Dmytro Sherembei, the Head of CO “100%Life.”
Meanwhile, the state overpays more than one million hryvnias a day(!) for purchase of Lopinavir/Ritonavir (Aluvia); this year it is UAH 370 million. In order to demonstrate the negative effects of such a court’s decision, patients symbolically burned souvenir money near the court’s building.
For two and a half years, the largest patients’ organization CO “100%Life” has been trying to challenge in the Ukrainian court a monopoly on medicine for the HIV treatment, Lopinavir/Ritonavir (Aluvia) produced by AbbVie. As a result, the state and donors spent UAH 536 million in 2018 on the purchase of only Lopinavir/Ritonavir alone providing only 27,000 patients with HIV treatment. In the case of cancellation of the patent and following development of competition for a drug due to entering the market by other drugs (generics), it will be possible to buy this drug at about three times lower price, spending UAH 163 million a year. It will potentially allow free treatment for another 138,000 patients with HIV.
Serhiy Kondratyuk, CO “100%Life’s” Expert in Legal Issues, Intellectual Property and Access to Treatment added, “a forensic examination that lasts about a year may most likely indicate the involvement of an expert on the part of the pharmaceutical company – manufacturer. Changing an expert, recognizing “evergreen” patents as ineffective and allowing treatment of people with HIV are all that we as patients demand from the court.”
Because of formal patents, cheaper analogues of HIV drugs cannot enter the Ukrainian market and, therefore, 138 000 Ukrainians cannot receive treatment.
On the case: On May 31, 2016, CO “100%Life” (the All-Ukrainian Network of PLWH) 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 PLWH were based on the following: the disputed patents did not meet the requirements of the legislation on novelty and inventive level, and the legal monopoly of the company-patent holder (AbbVie Inc., USA) allowed it to overprice this drug. On March 6, 2017, the Kyiv Economic Court of Appeal dismissed the lawsuit even without scheduling examination of patents in 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 the 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.
About CO “100%Life”:
CO “100%Life” (formerly known as the Network of PLWH) is the largest patients’ organization in Ukraine whose mission is to fight for Life. The Network works with patients and for patients including representing the interests of people living with HIV in 25 regions of Ukraine.
More information you can find on the website: http://network.org.ua or on the Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/All.Ukrainian.Network.of.PLWH
For more information, please contact:
Anastasiya Bondarchuk, 097 394 49 56, firstname.lastname@example.org,
Daria Kovalenko, 0954196798, email@example.com