NGOs and patient groups call upon Chilean President, Minister of Health to issue a compulsory license for cancer and Hepatitis drugs


Contact: Kim Treanor; 202-332-2670

Patient groups, civil society and concerned individuals from Chile and around the world call upon President Michelle Bachelet Jeria and Dr. Carmen Castillo Taucher, Minister of Health, to issue a compulsory license for patents on HCV and prostate cancer medicines.

A letter signed by these groups and individuals, and submitted today was the latest in a series of efforts to increase access to medicines in Chile.

In January of 2017, the Cámara de Diputados of the Chilean Congress voted in favor of a resolution calling upon the Chilean government to issue compulsory licenses for medicines which treat cancer and other diseases. Following this, in March of 2017 the NGO Innovarte with members of civil society and patient groups including Fundacion Nuevo Renacer, the Colegio de Quimico Farmaceuticos de Chile, and members of the Chilean Congress, including Diputados Giorgio Jackson, Karla Rubilar, Miguel Alvarado, and Gabriel Boric, Victor Torres, and Eugenio Tuma submitted a formal request to the Chilean Ministry of Health that the government use its authority under Chilean law to end patent monopolies on the prostate cancer drug enzalutamide (U.S. brand name Xtandi) and on sofosbuvir-based combination drugs for the treatment of hepatitis C virus (HCV).

To date, the Ministry has not acted on the request, and treatments for Hepatitis C and prostate cancer remain unaffordable and out of reach to many.

Luis Villarroel of Innovarte stressed the urgency of the situation, saying “From a point of view either from health and human rights or finances, the lack of action on the part of the Chilean authorities has no justification. The Ministry of Health seems to be proud in the case of Hepatitis C to provide next year the treatment with sofosbuvir only to 2600 patients at a cost of more of 18,000,000 dollars, while at the same time leaving unattended many thousands of  patients who need the same medicine. This is a serious mistake that should be corrected by the President Michelle Bachelet  with no delay.”

With only a few months left in the current administration, President Michelle Bachelet Jeria has the opportunity to create a lasting impact in the lives of patients by increasing access to medicines at affordable prices.

The petition submitted today is signed by 29 international non-governmental organizations and coalitions from all over the world, as well as individual academics and advocates. A full list of those who signed the letter is below:

ABIA (Associação Brasileira Interdisciplinar de AIDS), Brazil
Acción Internacional para la Salud- Perú
ARK (Access to Rights and Knowledge) Foundation, Nagaland India
Campaign for Affordable Trastuzumab, India
Canadian HIV/AIDS Legal Network
Coalition PLUS
Delhi Network of Positive People (DNP+), India
Fundación Grupo Efecto Positivo de Argentina
Fundación IFARMA, Colombia
Gestos – soropositividade, comunicação e gênero, Brazil
GIV (Grupo de Incentivo a Vida), Brazil
GRAB (Grupo de Resistência Asa Branca), Brazil
GTPI/REBRIP (Grupo de Trabalho sobre Propriedade Intelectual da Rede Brasileira de
Integração dos Povos), Brazil
Health Action International
Health GAP (Global Access Project), United States
Hepatitis Coalition of Nagaland, India
International Treatment Preparedness Coalition, Latin America and The Caribbean
International Treatment Preparedness Coalition, South Asia
Knowledge Ecology International
Mesa de Organizaciones con trabajo en VIH&SIDA Colombia
Misión Salud, Colombia
ONG Saludos, Chile
Public Citizen, United States
RedLAM (Red Latinoamericana por el Acceso a Medicamentos)
Sankalp Rehabilitation Trust, Mumbai, India
Treatment Action Group, United States
Union for Affordable Cancer Treatment

Luis Gil Abinader, Researcher, Latin American Faculty of Social Sciences (FLACSO), Argentina
Luz Marina Umbasia Bernal, Colombia
Cintia Dantas, Brazil
Alma De Leon, Guatemala
Gaelle Krikorian, Sociologist, IRIS/Inserm, France
Juan Pablo Morales, Chile
Gracia Violeta Ross Quiroga, Bolivia
Fifa Rahman, Postgraduate Researcher, Access to Medicines, Intellectual Property, and International Trade, University of Leeds
Francisco Rossi, Colombia
Andrea Carolina Reyes Rojas, Colombia
Marcela Fogaça Vieira, advogada especialista em propriedade intelectual e direitos humanos, mestre em saúde pública, Brasil.
Pedro Villardi, PhD candidate in Public Health and masters in Public Health and Bioethics, Institute of Social Medicine of the University of State of Rio de Janeiro (IMS/UERJ)
Germán Holguín Zamorano, Colombia

The letter is available in English here and in Spanish here.