Indonesia’s HIV/AIDS Sufferers Call for Domestic Production of Drugs
People living with HIV/AIDS have called on the government to produce all antiretroviral drugs, or ARVs, within the country in a bid to secure stock availability.
“There has to be a policy to have a legal umbrella so that the ARVs can become fully generic and be produced in Indonesia,” Aditya Wardhana, a coordinator with the Indonesia AIDS Coalition, said on Sunday.
Aditya said that if ARVs can be produced locally, Indonesia will no longer need to depend on foreign grants or imported stocks.
Although Kimia Farma already produces some ARVs, the state pharmaceutical company is still unable to meet domestic demand, forcing Indonesia to import the drugs, mainly from India.
Recent news about a grant reduction from the Global Fund that had been used to fight AIDS has caused concern among many Indonesians living with HIV/AIDS.
The Indonesian Network of People Living With HIV (Jothi) said many sufferers are considering dropping their ARV courses entirely, as they are worried that the drugs will no longer be supplied to them for free in the future.
M. Subuh, the Health Ministry’s director of infectious diseases, assured that despite the drastic reduction in donor funding for the program, the government could “guarantee 100 percent” the supply of ARVs.
Aditya said that in addition to ARVs, the government should focus more on viral load tests, which measure the amount of HIV in an infected person’s blood, and indicates whether ARVs are working.
He said it was unfortunate that the test is only available in five provinces and comes with a restrictive price tag.
“It’s only available in five provinces and it costs between Rp 850,000 and Rp 1 million [$90 to $105],” Aditya said.
The Global Fund announced last November that it would be forced to cut grants until 2014 because of a funding freeze from donor countries after revelations of fund misuse emerged.