Indonesia has enough HIV drug supplies, patients told

JAKARTA • Indonesia's health ministry has sought to reassure HIV patients that sufficient anti-retroviral (ARV) drugs will be available for their treatment after some hospitals ran out of supplies.

At least 29 hospitals and health centres in Indonesia had exhausted their stocks of a particular type of ARV, known as a fixed-dose combination of Tenofovir, Lamivudin and Efavirens (TLE), Mr Aditya Wardhana of the Indonesia Aids Coalition, a non-governmental organisation, 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 organisation 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.

Dr 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," Dr Engko said last 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.

  • >300,000

  • Number of patients in Indonesia who relied on ARV doses last year, according to health ministry data.

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, Dr Engko said.

REUTERS

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on January 14, 2019, with the headline 'Indonesia has enough HIV drug supplies, patients told'. Print Edition | Subscribe