Letter |

Letter to BI. Access to Viramune (nevirapine) in China

Mr Helmut Leuchten, CD Marketing prescription medicines head of corporate department of HIV Virology.

Dear Mr Leuchten,

MSF began antiretroviral treatment in 2001 and is now treating more than 34,000 patients in 28 countries. Most of these patients receive first-line treatment stavudine or zidovudine, lamivudine and nevirapine or efavirenz, in line with WHO recommendations. In China, where we treat over 200 patients, half of them are currently on nevirapine. We are writing to find a solution to some of the problems we face accessing Viramune (nevirapine) in China.

According to the information coming from the Chinese State Food and Drug Administration (SFDA), Viramune® suspension is registered but not marketed. The treatment of children is, hence, very difficult. For instance, the dose for a 10 kg child is 113 to 188 mg BID. The only way of creating this dose is by breaking the adult tablet, which is inaccurate and leads to an under dosing of the patient (6-43% less than the recommended dose')

Not only is MSF concerned about access to Viramune® suspension at an affordable price for our projects, but also access for the entire Chinese population. By neglecting Chinese population, Boehringer Ingelheim is failing to fulfill its commitment to exploring "practical ways of working together to make HIV/AIDS care available and affordable to a significantly greater number of people in developing countries".

We urge Boehringer Ingelheim to market Viramune® suspension in China in 240 ml bottles at an affordable price (US$ 17.50 per bottle), for both the private and public sector.

Thank you in advance for your cooperation in responding to our letter. We are available for a meeting during the HIV Conference in Rio de Janeiro (24-27 July) in case you are attending the event. We look forward to hearing from you at your possible earliest conveniance.

Fernando Pascual Marinez
HIV Focal Pharmacist
MSF Access Campaign for Access to Essential Medicines

Elodie Jambert
Field Pharmacist, MSF China Project