Indians Protest Patent for U.S. Anti-HIV Drug, Fearing Halt in Generic Production
May 10, 2006
Today in New Delhi, about 150 people, including some AIDS patients, demonstrated against U.S.-based Gilead Sciences Inc., which has applied to patent its AIDS drug tenofovir in India. This could end local production of the generic equivalent, tenofovir disoproxil fumarate (TDF), which has been available in India since last year.
On Tuesday, the Delhi Network of Positive People and the Indian Network of People Living with HIV/AIDS filed papers opposing the patent at the New Delhi Patent Office. "For many of us living with HIV/AIDS, newer drugs like tenofovir offer a new hope of continuing treatment," said Loon Gangte, a spokesperson with the Delhi Network. "With patents interfering with our lives, we have no choice but to oppose them."
Doctors Without Borders is providing technical support to the groups in their legal fight. "TDF is clearly emerging as an important drug in the treatment of people living with HIV/AIDS," the group's statement said, adding that if Gilead gets the patent, Indian production of the generic version would be forced to halt. "This will not only increase the price of the drug, but it would also lead to its unavailability in many developing countries," DWB said.
After a scuffle with police, the demonstrators offered themselves for arrest; 102 were briefly detained and then released, said Parath Singh, an officer.
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This article was provided by CDC National Prevention Information Network. It is a part of the publication CDC HIV/Hepatitis/STD/TB Prevention News Update.