The Vietnamese Network of People Living with HIV/AIDS has written to Minister of Health Nguyen Thi Kim Tien and US drug company Abbott to allow the manufacture in Viet Nam of a new AIDS drug the company has invented.
The organization – VNP+ as it is called – wants Abbott to either allow the manufacture of a generic version of its Aluvia or import it from India or Thailand so that patients in the country can afford it.
The average income of Vietnamese is US$ 1,191 while the new medicine costs $ 1,092 to $ 2,767 a year, it pointed out.
Generic production of first-line AIDS medicines has pushed down the cost from $ 15,000 a year to less than $ 70.
The letter carries signatures from 310 groups of people living with HIV in the country’s three regions, four non-governmental organizations, and experts.
It expresses concern about patients’ access to newer AIDS medicines, and urges the Government to intervene.
Do Dang Dong, national coordinator of VNP+, said most HIV victims in the country are poor.
“The price will create an economic burden not only for people living with HIV, but also the Government which wants to provide social welfare for citizens,” he said.
India and Thailand produced generic versions of the drug after successfully lobbying the US firm, he said.