Building on a solid track record, to achieve patent law reform and increase access to optimal, affordable medicines to close Ukraine’s treatment gap.
New HIV infections and deaths from AIDS-related illnesses having been falling in Ukraine since 2010. However, there are an estimated 240,000 people living with HIV, and 13,000 – 19,00 new infections annually. Just over half (56%) of people living with HIV know their status and only 40% are on treatment. The highest prevalence rate is among people who inject drugs (21.9%.)
The Hepatitis C prevalence rate is even higher, at 3.4% which equates to 1,500,000 people, according to the World Health Organization (WHO). Officially only 10,000 people are receiving treatment although figures may be higher due to the ‘grey market’. HIV and Hep C co-infection is a significant issue, with co-infection estimated to as high as 90% among people who use drugs.
Approximately 45,000 people are living with TB, with 35,000 on treatment according to WHO.
Under the Ukrainian constitution and international treaties that the country has ratified, every person has the right to free healthcare. However, due to the high prices of medicines and the constraint that puts on the health budget, the goal is far from being accomplished.
Our campaign partner, 100 Percent Life (the Network) is a key player in strengthening Ukraine’s patent law.
The Network’s focus also includes opposing unmerited patents and monopolies, getting essential medicines registered in the country, negotiating to reduce the price of essential medicines, and working to mitigate TRIPS Plus clauses in free trade agreements (FTAs), with the EU and USA in particular.
The Network has a good track record at successfully challenging unmerited patents and its advocacy work has contributed to generic versions of certain HIV drugs entering the health system. The 2018 Office of the United States Trade Representative (USTR) 301 Report placed Ukraine on the ‘priority watch list’. This is meant to imply that Ukraine is ‘bad for trade’ but is actually a signifier that the work being carried out is benefiting public health and having a significant enough impact to be noticed by profit-motivated multinational corporations.
The Network’s priorities for 2019 include:
- Continue to work on patent law reform, to prevent unmerited patents in the future, including those that are examples of ‘evergreening’.
- Increase access to optimal HIV treatment by removing intellectual property barriers. Approximately 40% of Ukraine’s health budget is spent on patented HIV drugs, and several promising medicines are not procured in Ukraine because of patent monopolies, and the resulting high prices.
- Implement strategies that introduce competition for optimal Hep C drugs by strengthening patent law, the patent examination process, and making full use of TRIPS flexibilities. A particular focus will be on the patents blocking ombitasvir/paritaprevir/ritonavir + dasabuvir combinations from generic competition. Patents are also blocking competition on elbasvir/grazoprevir and glecaprevir/pibrentasvir.
- Remove barriers to access on key TB drugs, such as delamanid and bedaquiline.
Last updated May 2019.