Richmond Laboratories, one of the main providers of oncological and HIV-linked medicines in Argentina, announced on Monday the launch of ZEVUVIR, a drug that seeks to delay the progression of the virus in affected patients.
This new medication, our access is totally free by the local norm, it is translated in the generic principle of the region to fulfill the same effects as the Dolutegravir, a habitual medicine in the carriers of the virus, that allows the restoration and the preservation of the immune system.
Miguel Pedrola, doctor and scientific director of AHF (AIDS Healthcare Foundation) Argentina -organization that advocates for the rights and health of people living with HIV-, which is the launch of the drug is beneficial, which has “few adverse effects “
“In this case, the drug works for what is known as integrase, a protein that is originally found inside HIV. This is positive because it is not easy for the virus to become resistant to the drug. “, Explains the specialist.
In the same vein, Gustavo Cañete, chief of Infectology at the Isidoro Iriarte Hospital in the province of Buenos Aires and a member of PREVIN -organization for the prevention of the virus-, highlights that the new generic has a better connection with compulsory medicine.
It can be administered once a day through a pill and has few adverse effects. That is not easy for all carriers to consume their medication accordingly.
We should also point to injectables, whose duration in the body is monthly, and that will allow us an improvement in the quality of life, “says Cañete.
Both specialists agree that the generic of the Richmond laboratory is a medical advance that broadens the supply of drugs for carriers of the virus, but the current truth is an old law and requires a reform that guarantees better access to public health.
“In Argentina, the law guaranteeing rights for people with HIV was sanctioned in 1990 and, from that time to the present, there were enormous advances in the approach of patients, but new problems were also arising that are not contemplated in the legislation and they are not solved with free medicines.
There is no talk, for example, of the effects on the body that the virus can bring, such as lipodystrophy, which causes malformations and greatly affects personal life, “says Pedrola.
The specialist also agrees to provide an economic subsidy for patients who, due to their condition, can not find a job that allows them to pay other expenses related to their state.
Patients must pose as ‘disabled’ (when they are not) to receive an income that allows them to survive, in case they can not get a job.
How does a person without income to withdraw their medicine in a hospital if they do not have money for transportation? It also omits what happens with minors with HIV.
In comprehensive sexual education taught in schools, this is not mentioned and it affects children who must grow up in a society that tends to stigmatize them, “Pedrola explains.
The scientific director of AHF emphasizes that it is a duty of the State to provide access to universal health, and ensures that it is a “political decision” that the country depends on expensive foreign licenses to produce these drugs.
In our country there is the possibility of manufacturing generics with state laboratories and, in this way, save money to the Government so that it can be allocated to other problems, such as prevention programs and the extension of rights. What the Richmond lab did can be replicated from the public sector, “concludes Pedrola.
In Argentina, according to figures from the Ministry of Health of the Nation, every year there are 6,500 new diagnoses of HIV. The trend has remained stable since the last ten years, but there was an increase in women between 45 and 59 years old, and in men between 15 and 24 years old.
For his part, Dr. Gustavo Cañete considers necessary a reform of the current national AIDS law, but that a prevention policy must be imposed.
We have come a long way since 1990 in terms of treatments, and the life expectancy of carriers today is the same as that of someone who does not have the virus, but we still believe that the reduction of those affected will come from the side of prevention. Providing correct information to our community will benefit the final results, “he concludes.