On September 3, the government of Indonesia took a quiet but exceptionally important step to expand access to medicines and help save and improve lives of people living with HIV/AIDS and hepatitis B. President Dr. H. Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono signed a decree authorizing government use of patents for seven HIV/AIDS and hepatitis medicines. If implemented to the full, the measure would introduce widespread generic competition and generate major cost savings in the world’s fourth most populous country. The decree licenses patents for a slate of HIV medicines, and represents one of the most robust uses of pharmaceutical patent licensing power by a country since the World Trade Organization 1995 Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property (WTO’s TRIPS).
Indonesia’s action sets a powerful example for other countries and a critical precedent for global public health. The Presidential decree is part of an effort to greatly expand access to newer and more appropriate antiviral and antiretroviral treatments in Indonesia.
The licensed medicines include efavirenz, abacavir, didanosin, lopinavir + ritonavir, tenofovir, tenofovir + emtricitabine, and tenofovir + emtricitabine + efavirenz.
More information, including a copy of the decree (in Indonesian and a rough unofficial English translation), analysis, a table of the licensed medicines, and more on Indonesia’s response to HIV and hepatitis B, is available here: www.citizen.org/actions-indonesia.