Treatment shortages for Russian HIV patients

Thousands of patients in Russia’s HIV epidemic are at risk of serious side-effects due to problems with supply of antiretroviral (ARV) drugs, health experts say. 

A survey known as Simona+, conducted by the International Treatment Preparedness Coalition last year among 1100 HIV patients, found significant ARV shortages in 11 cities. 

In September 2010, Russia’s Ministry of Health and Social Development, which is responsible for drug supply, insisted concerns about antiretroviral drug shortages were groundless. 

But in December the ministry was ordered to rectify “numerous violations” in the purchase and distri­bution of the drugs, including late adver­tising of procurement tenders. 

Yevgeniya Maron, coordinator of the Simona+ project, said treatment interruptions and changes could lead to drug resistance, skin irritation, nausea and headaches. 

Lancet 2011; 377