Letter to GSK. Access to lamivudine and zidovudine in China
To: Ms Isabelle Girault Director, Government Affairs HIV&AIDS
Dear Ms Girault,
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, lamiv-udine and nevirapine or efavirenz, in line with WHO recommendations. In China, where we treat over 200 patients, half of them are currently on zidovudine and/or lamivudine. We are writing to find a solution to some of the problems we face in using GlaxoSmithKline products in China.
According to the information coming from the Chinese State Food and Drug Administration (SFDA), lamivudine 150 mg tablets (Epivir®) and lamivudine 10 mg/ml oral solution (Epivir® oral solution) are registered but not marketed, the same is true for zidovudine 100 mg (Retrovire). Zidovudine 300 mg tablets (Retrovir®) and zidovudine 10 mg/ml oral solution (Retrovir® oral solution) are neither registered nor marketed.
The unavailability of these products makes it very difficult to build any first line treatment and greatly complicates the treatment of children.
By neglecting to make its products available on the Chinese market, GlaxoSmithKline is failing to fulfill its commitment to "improving healthcare in the developing world ... by making medicines and vaccines available at preferential prices" for people living with HIV/AIDS.
We urge GlaxoSmithKline to market lamivudine 150 mg tablets (Epivir®), lamivudine 10 mg/m1 oral solution (Epivir® oral solution) and zidovudine 100 mg (Retrovir®) in China at the same price as for Least Developed Countries, for both the public and private sector. We urge GlaxoSmithKline to apply for registration and market zidovudine 300 mg tablets (Retrovir®) and zidovudine 10 mg/ml oral solution (Retrovir® oral solution) at the same price as for Least Developed Countries.
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
Field Pharmacist, MSF China Project