Novartis: Court Case in India Begins (MSF Video)

This post was written by Nicolle Rueras.

A recent court case between the Indian Government and pharmaceutical company, Novartis, has caused a stir in the global community. Novartis is challenging Section 3(d) of India’s Patent Act, which requires companies to prove that their drug is more successful than alternative treatments for a disease to receive or extend a patent.

To get around this regulation, many companies begin “evergreening” – making minor changes to a drug that may not improve its efficacy but claim it does in order to extend its patent. If Novartis succeeds, this may open the door for other companies to follow suit, ultimately driving up prices for crucial medicines produced in India and needed around the world.

More MSF Videos from the 2012 HIV/AIDS Conference

Here are some more videos from MSF from the 2012 HIV/AIDS conference that I thought might be of interest to our readers.

Middle-income countries are increasingly taking measures to overcome the patents that price drugs out of reach.

The challenges but also promising initiatives that could facilitate the development of affordable medical tools adapted to the needs of patients in resource-limited settings.

Addressing HIV vulnerability of irregular Zimbabwean cross-border migrants in South Africa. MSF at the 2012 International AIDS Conference.

Participants will leave this workshop with a better understanding on use of second-line ART in RLS, including the complex intersections between chronic HIV infection, long-term antiretroviral drug exposure and chronic-degenerative co-morbidities, and the latest scientific evidence on the use of ART as HIV prevention.

MSF Videos on HIV/AIDS Treatment

Below are a series of videos from MSF on different aspects of HIV/AIDS treatment.

A first-of-its-kind study released today by Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) maps progress across 23 countries on HIV treatment strategies, tools and policies needed to increase treatment scale-up. The results show that governments have made improvements to get better antiretroviral treatment (ART) to more people, but implementation of innovative community-based strategies is lagging in some countries.

Despite the fact that the benefits of virological treatment monitoring are well established and that routine viral load testing is the standard of care in rich countries, access to viral load testing in resource-limited settings remains limited or non-existent. A number of cost-reducing strategies and implementation challenges must now be addressed so that virological monitoring can become the norm for all patients on ART. This will be important to prevent the development of drug resistance and preserve the use of first-line ART. This session presents the challenges and promise of scale-up of virological monitoring from a patient, health system, and market perspective. The session will be of interest to donors, policy makers, civil society representatives, and implementing organizations.

As HIV treatment is scaled up in developing countries, the lack of access to viral load monitoring—routine in wealthy countries—must be addressed. Increased access to viral load monitoring can help people stay on antiretroviral combinations as long as possible, and help stave off resistance.

MSF Video – HIV/AIDS in the DRC

The number of HIV-positive people in DRC is currently estimated at more than one million, 350,000 of whom could benefit from antiretroviral (ARV) treatment. However, only 44,000 people are currently receiving treatment, translating into a 15 percent ARV coverage rate, one of the lowest in the world.

MSF Videos: Neglected Tropical Diseases

MSF recently released this set of videos on NTDs (neglected tropical diseases). On a related note, I am looking for someone to take over this duty for the blog (finding interesting/relevant YouTube videos and posting them here with some brief commentary), so if you are interested, please e-mail me!

Sleeping sickness is a fatal and much neglected disease that plagues parts of Africa.

Chagas is a parasitic disease found on the American continent, where it affects an estimated 8 to 10 million people and claims up to 12,500 lives every year.

Kala Azar is a neglected tropical disease responsible for 50,000 deaths every year.