Fix The Patent Laws

TAC welcomes the approval of dolutegravir in the US and calls for action to ensure global access

Posted on | August 14, 2013 | No Comments

The Treatment Action Campaign (TAC) welcomes the approval by the US Food and Drug Administration of the antiretroviral medicine dolutegravir. This is a new integrase inhibitor (brand name Tivicay) that could potentially become a vital drug in the global struggle against HIV. TAC calls on all parties involved to ensure widespread availability of Dolutegravir in South Africa and across the developing world.

  • Dolutegravir was as good or better in the studies that led to approval than the comparison combinations, including Atripla (a brand name combination equivalent to the most widely used first line regimen in the South African public sector).
  • It is effective at reducing viral load and fewer side effects were reported compared to many existing antiretroviral drugs (ARVs).
  • The low milligram dose (50 mg) makes it ideal to co-formulate in Fixed Dose Combinations (FDCs).
  • It is taken once-daily for most people and can be taken with or without food.

Dolutegravir has been approved for treatment naive patients with the potential to replace efavirenz (EFV) in first-line regimens. It has also been approved for treatment experienced patients in either second-line (where the price undercuts existing drugs) or third-line regimens. It is dosed at 50 mg once-daily or twice daily depending on previous resistance. For people with extensive drug resistance it may have a lower risk of drug resistance than raltegravir (RAL) which is currently used to treat third-line patients in South Africa.

The low dosage means dolutegravir has the potential to be produced at a low cost by generic manufacturers. Estimates suggest prices as low as R300 per patient per year could be achieved.

Ultimately the uptake of dolutegravir globally depends on the cost of the drug. In order to be optimal a treatment regimen must be affordable and widely available to people across the world.

  • TAC urges ViiV Healthcare, the manufacturer, to rapidly register dolutegravir in South Africa.
  • TAC calls on the Medicines Control Council (MCC) to evaluate the drug without delay.
  • ViiV must not block access to this life-saving HIV drug through limiting generic production.
  • If barriers to access remain the South African government must use flexibilities in international trade law to ensure dolutegravir can be produced or imported at an affordable price.


For all media enquiries please contact:
Lotti Rutter
+27 (0) 81 818 8493


Leave a Reply

  • About the Campaign

    fix the patent laws
    Fix the Patent Laws is a campaign co-founded by SECTION27, Treatment Action Campaign (TAC) and Doctors Without Borders (MSF) in 2011. Since then, the coalition has grown to include 38 other organisations fighting together to push South Africa to amend its patent laws to prioritise public health. Through this blog we will highlight how amending South Africa’s Patents Act 57 of 1978 will reduce the cost of medicines, improving the health and saving the lives of millions of South Africans.

    The members of the Fix the Patent Laws Campaign are as follows: Treatment Action Campaign (TAC), Doctors Without Borders (MSF), SECTION27, the South African Non-Communicable Diseases Alliance (SANCD Alliance), DiabetesSA, EpilepsySA, Marie Stopes South Africa, Stop Stock Outs Project (SSP), South African Depression and Anxiety Group (SADAG), Cape Mental Health (CMH), the South African Federation of Mental Health (SAFMH), Schizophrenia and Bipolar Disorders Alliance (SABDA), as well as the following members of the Cancer Alliance and Advocates for Breast Cancer: Breast Course 4 Nurses, Breast Health Foundation, Cancer Association of South Africa (CANSA), Cancer Heroes, Can-Sir, CanSurvive, Care for Cancer Foundation, Childhood Cancer Foundation of South Africa (CHOC), Hospice Palliative Care Association (HPCA), Igazi Foundation, Look Good Feel Better, Love your Nuts, Lymphoedema Association of South Africa (LAOSA), Men’s Foundation, National Council Against Smoking, National Oncology Nursing Association of SA, Pancreatic Cancer Network of SA (PanCan), People Living With Cancer (PLWC), Pink Trees for Pauline, Pink Phoenix Cancer Foundation, Pocket Cancer Support, Project Flamingo, Rainbows and Smiles, Reach for Recovery, South African Oncology Social Work Forum (SAOSWF), The Pink Parasol Project, The Sunflower Fund, Vrede Foundation and Wings of Hope.

  • Read the TAC and MSF campaign pamphlet

  • Latest tweets