ITPC-LATCA is the hub forLatin America and the Caribbean of the International Treatment Preparedness Coalition (ITPC).
According to the latest registry of the Ministry of Health of Honduras in September 2019, the number of people living with HIV amounted to 37,696 cases.
In addition, on November 30th of 2020, the Pan American |Health Organization (PAHO) published a study indicating that in the last decade, the numbers in Latin America are increasing by more than 20% each year. For example, in Honduras, in a single Hospital of the national network, since 2019, one to two cases per day have been registered. These numbers indicate that the population urgently needs treatment.
Doravinine, under the brand name Pifeltro, is an HIV treatment used worldwide and patented by Merck pharmaceuticals. It is used combined with other drugs to treat HIV in adults and also as a replacement option for people already under treatment with other drugs, but not achieving optimal results.
Continuing with the exclusive rights of the patent granted to Merck for the drug Doravirine, would allow the company to establish excessively high and unaffordable prices for the population living with HIV in Honduras.
In that sense, ITPC LATCA filed an application for nullity of Doravirine’s patent, seeking to stop the pharmaceutical company’s mercantilist behavior against patients. In other words, Honduras is one step ahead in purchasing the drug at affordable prices. Exclusive rights patents allow companies to set excessively high prices, as has been done with other drugs in the past.
The entity in charge of granting the nullity is the General Directorate of Intellectual Property of Honduras – DIGEPIH-. Based on the investigation, it decides whether or not to grant the application for nullity of the drug’s patent.
“ITPC LATCA had access to the patent application requested by Merck and verified that there is sufficient technical, scientific, and legal evidence showing that the application does not meet patentability requirements in Honduras. Therefore, the annulment of the patent on Doravirine should be legally declared by the DIGEPIH” says Marisabel Colorado, Project Manager at ITPC LATCA.