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 Wednesday 22 July 2009
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AFRICA: Major funding boost for paediatric ARVs

Photo: Georgina Cranston/IRIN
Less than 10 percent of patients on ARVs in Africa are children
JOHANNESBURG, 16 July 2009 (PlusNews) - Pharmaceutical company GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) has announced plans to invest up to US$97 million over 10 years in improving antiretroviral (ARV) treatment for children and adults in sub-Saharan Africa.

The world's second largest drug manufacturer has pledged $16 million in seed funding to a public-private partnership that will develop new paediatric formulations of ARV drugs, GSK said in a statement this week.

Less than 10 percent of patients on ARVs in Africa are children, according to the international medical NGO, Médecins Sans Frontières.

Although 13 ARV formulations specifically for children are available, they are not adapted for use in resource-poor settings. Most are in liquid form, and come as three, often unpalatable, separate drugs that children find difficult to take.

The company has also launched a new "Positive Action for Children" fund of $80 million over 10 years to help prevent mother-to-child transmission of HIV, and to support orphans and vulnerable children.

The company made the announcement after pressure from activists and governments on drug companies to do more to make life-saving medicines available in developing countries, particularly in sub-Saharan Africa.

GSK also announced a new, free, voluntary licensing agreement with South African drug manufacturers Aspen Pharmacare to make cheaper versions of the drug abacavir - an expensive second-line ARV drug.


Theme(s): (PLUSNEWS) Care/Treatment - PlusNews, (PLUSNEWS) Children, (PLUSNEWS) HIV/AIDS (PlusNews)


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