Press release. For immediate distribution – Ideological Incompatibility: Profit or Patients? Once Again Lives of Thousands of Russians are put at Risk by a Pharmaceutical Company

Published: May 27, 2011

May 27th, 2011, MOSCOW. The suspension of an auction for the procurement of essential medicinal drugs, which was due to take place in May, threatens the life and health of 5700 HIV-positive Russian citizens in need of Kivexa, an antiviral drug. This was announced today by representatives of the Interregional social organization Community of People Living with HIV (“Community of PLHIV”).

In 2011, the Russian Ministry of Healthcare and Social Development had plans, under the Government’s ‘Health’ project, to procure more than 2 million tablets (or 5700 annual courses of treatment) of Kivexa for the price of RUR 213.18 ($7.51) per tablet, and had assigned more than RUR 437 million ($15.5 mln.) for that purpose. Back in late 2009, the producer of Kivexa officially announced that starting January 2010 it would lower the price of this vital drug by 40% against the price of the previous year. In the same year, under the national ‘Health’ project 990 annual courses of treatment were procured for RUR 612.41 ($21.7) per tablet, and in 2010 3520 courses for RUR 542.9 ($19.2) per tablet.

The Community of PLHIV considers this to be reasonable, and welcomes the decision of the government to lower the initial auction price of this medicine in 2011 by 65% against the 2009 price, since the amount of medication over this period has increased more than 5.5-fold. However, following the announcement of this price, the auction for the procurement of drugs on May 17th was unexpectedly suspended. The official reason was given as “notification by the Federal Antimonopoly Service (FAS) of Russia on the acceptance of a complaint (against this auction) for due consideration". The company informed the Community of PLHIV that the auction had been derailed because none of the distributors was set to attend. In any case, this essentially means that the company and the distributors were disagreeing with the price. It is interesting that in 2009 the producer of Kivexa also declined to take part in an auction for the procurement of several antiviral drugs for a similar reason2, which caused an unacceptable delay in the delivery of this vital medication and serious disruption to patients’ treatment.

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