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AIDS drug tender announcement brings glimmer of hope for HIV-positive people
Sunday 13 March 2005
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SOUTH AFRICA: AIDS drug tender announcement brings glimmer of hope for HIV-positive people


[This report does not necessarily reflect the views of the United Nations]


JOHANNESBURG, 4 March (PLUSNEWS) - After months of delay, the South African government's long-awaited anti-AIDS drug tender has finally been granted to seven drug manufacturing firms, including the local generic manufacturer, Aspen Pharmacare.

Aspen CEO Stephan Saad told Plusnews that, of the companies nominated to produce antiretrovirals for the government's free treatment programme, his was awarded the lion's share.

"Our firm listed six drugs, for which it was awarded a 100 percent supply tender, and three others in which it will supply between 60 and 80 percent," Saad confirmed.

Already supplying generic antiretrovirals to South Africa and other markets abroad, the company recently won regulatory approval from the United States Food and Drug Administration for some of its cheaper versions of branded AIDS medicines to be included in the US President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR).

The PEPFAR programme aims to cover the costs of treatment for 2 million HIV-positive people and provide care for 10 million others in 15 target countries, mostly in Africa.

Highlighting the "many hurdles" encountered by Aspen in the South African tendering process, Saad said the firm was very excited to have won such a huge part of the contract.

"I am confident that this could ultimately be a big step forward for the state's slow rollout of HIV/AIDS care and treatment," he noted.

The government's Operational Plan for Comprehensive HIV and AIDS Care, introduced in November 2003, has hit a number of stumbling blocks in realising its target of providing free treatment to 53,000 HIV-positive people by March 2004.

The pace of the rollout has attracted criticism from the AIDS lobby group, Treatment Action Campaign, who have claimed that only 33,000 people were currently accessing drugs at public health facilities.

However, the US $573 million tender, which expires in 2007, is expected to speed up the government programme, with some 500,000 people in urgent need of anti-AIDS medication set to benefit from it.

Multinational drug manufacturers Boehringer Ingelheim, Bristol Meyers Squibb, MerckSharpe and Dohme, GlaxoSmithKline and Abbot Laboratories will manage supply of the more costly patented drugs.

[ENDS]


 
Recent SOUTH AFRICA Reports
Sensitising programme delivers positive results,  11/Mar/05
Capacity shortfalls undermine roll-out,  3/Mar/05
Experts recommend HIV/AIDS prevention in treatment expansion,  23/Feb/05
Monitoring ARV patients like 'working in the dark',  23/Feb/05
HIV/AIDS "indirectly" responsible for increased mortality - report,  21/Feb/05
Links
Le portail d'informations générales de la Côte d’Ivoire
Sida Info Services
Le Fonds mondial de lutte contre le SIDA, la tuberculose et le paludisme
Le Réseau Afrique 2000
The Global Fund to fight AIDS, Tuberculosis & Malaria

PlusNews does not take responsibility for info in links supplied.


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