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Indonesia To Issue Compulsory Licenses For HIV, Hepatitis B Drugs Still Under Patent

“The Indonesian government hopes to implement one of the largest ever examples of ‘compulsory licensing,’ which will enable the generic manufacture of drugs still under patent,” IRIN reports. “Under the World Trade Organization’s Trade Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS), countries can override patents for public health purposes by issuing compulsory licenses that enable the generic manufacture of drugs still under patent,” the news service notes, adding, “The latest use of compulsory licensing — Indonesia’s third to date — will allow the government to expand its access to the second-line [antiretrovirals (ARVs)], … including tenofovir, emtricitabine, and lopinavir/ritonavir,” according to Samsuridjal Djauzi, chair of the Indonesian Association of Physicians in AIDS Care, the news service writes.

“In this latest move, a September 2012 presidential decree announced the government would procure generic equivalents of the international patents for seven HIV/AIDS and hepatitis B medicines, citing the ‘urgent need’ to control these diseases,” according to IRIN. “Advocates of the move say the reduced drug costs achieved through compulsory licensing have been instrumental in reducing HIV mortality rates in Indonesia,” the news service writes, adding, “Critics of compulsory licensing say its usage undermines medical innovation.” The news service quotes a number of experts on both sides of the issue (3/25).