People living with HIV patients held a demonstration in front of the ministry of health in Lima to end the monopoly of a antirretroviral medication, the US pharmaceutical company Brystol-Myers-Squibb. The company has a government monopoly on the retroviral Atazanavir which is used to treat HIV.
The Peruvian government pays US$10 for a 300 milligrams pill, spending close to US$9 million on Atazanavir tablets each year. Only by lifting the government monopoly of Brystol-Myers-Squibb, can the medication be brought to the market at a much lower price, making it more widely available to Peruvians.
The same medicine is 95.4 percent cheaper in neighboring Bolivia. Also, the pill is at least half the price in Argentina, Brazil, Colombia, and Mexico. The Peruvian Network of Patients and Consumers argues that there is no justification for buying Atazanavir at such a high price, and it is very easy to put a mechanism in place which make it possible to buy medication a much lower price. People feel that the Peruvian government is over paying for the needed drugs with tax money and that the pharmaceutical company is making a lot of money on the back of the Peruvian tax payers.
Source: Telesur and AVERT