Indonesia seeks to reassure HIV patients over drug supplies

Should the upcoming tender fail to be met by April, the health ministry had secured an additional 560,000 bottles of the separate TLE pills from the fund. (File/AFP)
Updated 13 January 2019
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Indonesia seeks to reassure HIV patients over drug supplies

  • More than 300,000 patients in Indonesia relied on ARV doses last year
  • Should the upcoming tender fail to be met by April, the health ministry had secured an additional 560,000 bottles of the separate TLE pills from the fund

JAKARTA: Indonesia’s health ministry has sought to reassure HIV patients that sufficient antiretroviral (ARV) drugs will be available for their treatment after some hospitals had run out of supplies.
At least 29 hospitals and health centers in Indonesia had exhausted their stocks of a particular type of ARV, known as a fixed-dose combination of Tenofovir, Lamivudin and Efavirens (TLE), Aditya Wardhana of the Indonesia AIDS Coalition, a non-governmental organization, told a news conference.
The health ministry confirmed that a tender to procure some ARV drugs last year had failed, but said it had imported some of the TLE through The Global Fund, an international financing organization to fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria.
Still, the Indonesia AIDS Coalition called for more emergency purchases via the fund, and urged President Joko Widodo to intervene.
More than 300,000 patients in Indonesia relied on ARV doses last year, according to Health Ministry data.
Engko Sosialine Magdalene, director general of pharmaceutical and medical devices at the ministry, said the country has enough fixed-dose ARV to last until May.
“A tender will start next month, so it will not impact our stocks,” Magdalene said on Saturday.
She said in the meantime patients unable to obtain the drug could use pills containing similar ingredients and there was sufficient stock until December.
Should the upcoming tender fail to be met by April, the health ministry had secured an additional 560,000 bottles of the separate TLE pills from the fund, Magdalene said.
Some patients, however, are concerned about potentially changing their medication. “Clearly we are terrified,” HIV patient Baby Rivona Nasution, told the news conference hosted by the Indonesia AIDS Coalition. She has been using ARV medication for the past decade
“Will I still be alive or not by the end of the year?“
Wardhana of the Indonesia AIDS Coalition said the issue of obtaining the drugs distributed in the country by pharmaceutical companies Kimia Farma and Indofarma Global Medika may be due to high prices.
According to Magdalene, procurement regulations meant the ministry “could not access with such prices.” She did not elaborate.
Honesti Basyir, Kimia Farma president director, declined to comment on prices but said efforts must be made to reduce Indonesia’s reliance on costly imported raw materials for drugs.
Indofarma Global Medika could not be reached for comment.


New Zealand envoy headed to Turkey to ‘confront’ Erdogan’s mosque shooting comments

Updated 11 min 35 sec ago
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New Zealand envoy headed to Turkey to ‘confront’ Erdogan’s mosque shooting comments

  • President Tayyip Erdogan said Turkey would make the suspected attacker pay if New Zealand did not
  • His comments came at a campaign rally that included video footage of the shootings

SYDNEY: New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said on Wednesday Foreign Minister Winston Peters will travel to Turkey to “confront” comments made by Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan on the killing of at least 50 people at mosques in Christchurch.
Australian Brenton Tarrant, 28, a suspected white supremacist, was charged with murder on Saturday after a lone gunman opened fire at the two mosques during Friday prayers.
Erdogan — who is seeking to drum up support for his Islamist-rooted AK Party in March 31 local elections — said Turkey would make the suspected attacker pay if New Zealand did not.
The comments came at a campaign rally that included video footage of the shootings which the alleged gunman had broadcast on Facebook.
Ardern said Peters would seek urgent clarification.
“Our deputy prime minister will be confronting those comments in Turkey,” Ardern told reporters in Christchurch. “He is going there to set the record straight, face-to-face.”
Peters had earlier condemned the airing of footage of the shooting, which he said could endanger New Zealanders abroad.
Despite Peters’ intervention, an extract from Tarrant’s alleged manifesto was flashed up on a screen at Erdogan’s rally again on Tuesday, along with footage of the gunman entering one of the mosques and shooting as he approached the door.
Meanwhile, Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison said he summoned Turkey’s ambassador for a meeting, during which he demanded Erdogan’s comments be removed from Turkey’s state broadcaster.
“I will wait to see what the response is from the Turkish government before taking further action, but I can tell you that all options are on the table,” Morrison told reporters in Canberra.
Morrison said Australia’s ambassador to Turkey will on Wednesday meet with the members of Erdogan’s government.
Morrison said Canberra is also reconsidering its travel advice for Australians planning trips to Turkey.
Relations between Turkey, New Zealand and Australia have generally been good. Thousands of Australians and New Zealanders travel each year to Turkey for war memorial services.
Just over a century ago, thousands of soldiers from the Australian and New Zealand Army Corps (ANZAC) struggled ashore on a narrow beach at Gallipoli during an ill-fated campaign that would claim more than 130,000 lives.
The area has become a site of pilgrimage for visitors who honor their nations’ fallen in graveyards halfway around the world on ANZAC Day every April 25.