Recently, a large number of various civil society organizations in Peru have attended to the Peruvian Supreme Court in Lima, in order to address the overspending made by the Minister of Health, Anibal Velásquez, in the purchase of Atazanavir, one of the most expensive HIV medications in Latin America.
The affected people are demanding Velasquez to grant the compulsory license to the anti-retroviral Atazanavir, so they can finish with the monopoly carried out by Bristol Myers Squibb, which has a patent of exclusivity in their product until 2019.
Having no response by the Ministry, dozens of people with HIV decided to protest in front of the Ministry of Health. This group of people is demanding the Minister to declare Atazanavir of public interest. However, they have received no response, despite the fact that the maximum period established by the law has expired.
The Peruvian Government purchases this medicine for about $10.32 each one to the Bristol Myers Squibb Company, while Bolivia purchases for about $0.5, since they have free market. Last year, the government spent about $9.612.000 in the supply of facilities such as Minsa, EsSalud, and the Armed Forces.
“This is an abuse that complicates the purchase of all types of medicine. The State cannot invest more money to treat other diseases, since they spend too much on Atazanavir”, said Mr. Castillo. Since the Government has not answered to their claim, civil society organizations have sued the Minister of Health for inactivity. “A month ago we sent him a letter and he hasn’t responded; now he must do it in front of a judge”, said Castillo.
The Minister of Health must give a response about the application of the compulsory license for Atazanavir. In case of obtaining a negative response, civil society will examine the possibility of raising an action of protection.