E-DRUG: Support Colombia compulsory license request for lopinavir/ritonavir
On July 16, Colombian NGOs filed requests for an open compulsory
license on AIDS drug lopinavir/ritonavir with the Colombian
government. An open license would permit generic competition with
Abbott's patented product Kaletra. Generic lopinavir/ritonavir is
available in many countries at prices significantly less than half
what Abbott charges Colombia's public health sector (and five times
less what Abbott charges Colombia's private sector). An open
license would save patients and health programs money and facilitate
access to an important AIDS medicine.
The health NGOs' compulsory license request comes more than three
months after the same groups requested an open license directly from
Abbott Laboratories. To date, Abbott has not responded to the
More information is available here:
Essential Action is collecting signatures in support of the license
request. If you would like to sign on, please send your
organization's name (or your name and organizational affiliation, if
any, if you would like to sign on as an individual), your mailing
address and email address to
<email@example.com>. The deadline for sign-
ons is Tuesday, August 5, 2008.
ALVARO URIBE VELEZ
PRESIDENTE DE LA REPUBLICA DE COLOMBIA
E. S. D.
GUSTAVO VALBUENA QUIÑONES
SUPERINTENDENTE DE INDUSTRIA Y COMERCIO
E. S. D.
DIEGO PALACIO BETANCOURT
MINISTRO DE LA PROTECCION SOCIAL
E. S. D.
We are organizations from around the world concerned about providing
treatment to people with HIV/AIDS, ensuring all people have access to
needed medicines, and promoting public health. We write in support of
the July 16, 2008 Colombian civil society request for issuance of a
compulsory license on the medicine lopinavir/ritonavir (Kaletra),(1)
[FN1: The request was filed by the HIV/AIDS Working Group (Mesa de
Organizaciones con trabajo en VIH/SIDA), RECOLVIH Colombian Network
of Persons Living with HIV/AIDS (Red Colombiana de personas viviendo
con el VIH), Foundation IFARMA-Health Action Internacional, and
Mission Health (Fundación Misión Salud)]
Under the World Trade Organization's Agreement on Trade-Related
Aspects of Intellectual Property (TRIPS) and Andean Community
Decision 486, Colombia is free to issue compulsory licenses to
advance public interest objectives. The WTO's Doha Declaration on the
TRIPS Agreement and Public Health "affirm[s] that the [TRIPS]
Agreement can and should be interpreted and implemented in a manner
supportive of WTO members' right to protect public health and, in
particular, to promote access to medicines for all."
Issuing a compulsory license in this case will help promote access to
medicines for all. Lopinavir/ritonavir is a key medicine in the
treatment of HIV/AIDS. The high price charged by Abbott, the patent
holder for this medicine, constitutes a barrier to access and hinders
efforts to make antiretroviral treatment available in Colombia to all
who need it.
A compulsory license for lopinavir/ritonavir in Colombia would allow
the state to obtain and offer imported generics, as well as permit
the local production of lopinavir/ritonavir. The result could be
greater product availability for patients, robust competition, and
savings for the state, which could be directed to other public needs.
Thank you for this opportunity to comment. We urge that you give all
due consideration to this license request.