AHF Urges Trinidad and Tobago to Sidestep Greedy GSK

In Global Advocacy, Global Featured, News, Pharmaceutical by Brian Shepherd

AHF is calling on the government of Trinidad and Tobago to consider issuing a compulsory license for Tivicay (dolutegravir), a GSK antiretroviral (ARV) drug that treats HIV, which currently costs 25 times more than available biosimilar generics in neighboring Caribbean countries.

In February, AHF and the Medical Research Foundation of Trinidad & Tobago sent a letter to GSK CEO Dame Emma Walmsley, which in part stated, “We urge you to address the lack of access to the antiretroviral drug Tivicay in Trinidad due to its high cost by lowering its price in line with biosimilar generics available in the Caribbean Region – or by committing not to threaten legal action against the purchase of a generic version of Tivicay.”

To date, GSK has yet to respond to the letter. Currently, Tivicay is under patent protection in Trinidad and Tobago, and GSK has threatened legal action if the country decides to import affordable generic ARVs.

“As a small island nation, Trinidad and Tobago is still recovering from the economic and social consequences of COVID-19 – paying 25 times more to provide lifelong HIV treatment for its people is untenable,” said AHF President Michael Weinstein. “In the face of GSK’s unwillingness to budge on pricing, we, together with our local partners, see no other option than to call on the government of Trinidad and Tobago to invoke its sovereign right to do whatever is necessary to protect its people’s health, which in this case, would include issuing a compulsory license for Tivicay.”

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