Generic versions of medications can make treatment more achievable in some countries.
Hepatitis C patients in Indonesia have found it is still quite difficult for them to get effective but affordable medicines, although the government has issued a permit for the distribution of Hep C drug Sofosbuvir’s generic versions produced in India since July 2016.
Baby Rivona, an HIV positive patient who also suffers from Hepatitis C, said she could not use a combination of pegylated interferon alfa and oral ribavirin, the standard of care for chronic Hepatitis C virus infection provided by the government, because it was not suitable for her condition.
However, Baby said, buying Sofosbuvir at her own expense was also not a wise choice for a single mother like her because it cost more than she could afford.
“I eventually asked for help from the Indonesian Buyers Club [IBC] to buy Sofosbuvir generic versions from abroad,” she said in a press conference in Jakarta on Thursday.
According to Health Ministry data, about 3 million people in Indonesia suffer from Hepatitis C. IBC has helped about 100 patients get Hepatitis C medicines directly from India at affordable prices.
Unfortunately, things have been getting more complicated since two months ago when the Finance Ministry’s customs and excise directorate general started requiring the use of a Special Access Scheme (SAS) for importing the medicines.
IBC said the new scheme had prolonged and complicated the process because it was very bureaucratic.
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