A consortium of civil society organizations in Uganda has protested against the high cost of life-saving drugs by international pharmaceutical companies manufacturing the said drugs.
The organizations which included Uganda Cares, Aids Care Foundation (AHF), and HEPS – Uganda among others say, Gilead Sciences, one of the largest biopharmaceutical companies manufacturing life-saving drugs especially those being used to treat Hepatitis C and HIV has hiked the prices of the drugs, living patients from the poor counties Uganda inclusive at risk.
The executive director of the Coalition for Health Promotion and Social Development (HEPS) Kenneth, Mwehonge says the company in question should provide patent rights to some of the local companies in Uganda to enable them manufacture the drugs, which he believes will help to reduce the prices of the drugs.
“We see that one in four people has no access to antiretroviral therapy globally. 38 million people are living with HIV but one in four has no access, and why? It’s because these pharmaceutical companies are not offering voluntary licenses for production of generic versions of these medicines that are cheaper and affordable,” Mwehonge said.
There are about 1.4 million people living with HIV/AIDS in Uganda which is a prevalence of 5.2 percent of the total population.