The Bristol Myers Squibb Pharmaceutical has proposed to the Ministry of Health of the Peru, change the treatment scheme to increase the volume of their sales of Atazanavir, and thus reduce the cost of the medication, which is 25 times higher priced and generates 54% of the budget to purchase HIV medicines in the country. This situation can be considered as an attack to the health of people with HIV in Peru!
“Bristol Myers is willing to lower 12% of its price in the first year and up to 40% in the second year, subject to the condition of placing Atazanavir as a first-line drug, which means a clear interference in public health policies”, commented Aníbal Velásquez, Minister of Health of Peru.
In Peru, Atazanavir is as second-line drug, which is used for those people who have become resistant to other treatments. This means that the patient will lose previous therapeutic alternatives to improve their quality of life, which reduces the possibilities of treatment.
According to information from the Ministry of Health, around March last year, there were approximately 22.646 people with HIV undergoing treatment, 81% of the total number of people on treatment are receiving first-line drugs.
A quick calculation tells that if Atazanavir is incorporated as a first-line drug, it would exceed the current budget’s purchase of antiretrovirals.
This implies that the expenditure for the first-line treatment would increase from $ 8 million to more than 32 billion dollars, only for the purchase of Atazanavir 300 mg.
There have already been several different allegations that members of the Peruvian civil society have made to the pharmaceutical. However, few have been heard. We must continue advocating for our universal rights to enjoy a quality of life with dignity.