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International News

Thailand: HIV-Positive Men Want Generic HIV Meds Soon

April 24, 2008

Although a Thai government policy allowing importation of the generic version of the AIDS drug Kaletra has been in place for more than a year, advocates say few patients have been able to access the cheaper version.

The emergency policy to bypass Kaletra's patent went into force in January 2007, when the government declared its intention to import the generic version under its universal health care plan. That program began providing free drugs to HIV patients in 2004.

An estimated 100,000 Thais now depend on the program for their HIV drugs. However, the Disease Control Department says about 12 percent of these patients have developed resistance to first-line drugs, such as the locally manufactured GPO-VIR.

"Most hospitals say they will provide the second-line treatment for patients who develop resistance to the first-line medicine," said Samran Takan of Violet House, which assists HIV-positive gay men in Chiang Mai province. "But we don't know how long we have to wait."

Despite the compulsory licensing policy, few patients in the universal health care plan have been able to access the second-line treatment, confirmed Nimit Tienudom, who chairs the AIDS Access Foundation and is a member of the National Health Security Office panel overseeing the AIDS program. The lack of screening equipment and trained health staff is blamed for the delay in distributing the generic version. The NHSO panel is scheduled to take up the matter at its May 6 meeting.

Back to other news for April 2008

Adapted from:
Bangkok Post
04.24.2008; Apiradee Treerutkuarkul, Cheewin Sattha

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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.
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