Speedy US approval of cheap AIDS drugs expected

AFRICA: Speedy US approval of cheap AIDS drugs expected

JOHANNESBURG, 3 Mar 2005 (PLUSNEWS) - A call by the US administration for the speedy clearance of more generic drugs could see a lot more antiretrovirals (ARVs) included in President Bush's $15 billion global anti-AIDS programme.

"We have put a lot of effort into hand-holding with generic companies around the world to encourage them, so my guess is in the next few months we will see more drugs included. The first company to apply was approved ... and we expect more," Randall Tobias, coordinator of the US President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR), said in a statement.

In a move that allows PEPFAR recipients to use the cheaper versions of branded drugs, the Bush Administration last year announced a fast-track scheme for generic ARVs to get US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approval for safety and quality.

South Africa's Aspen Pharmacare, recently became the first company to win FDA regulatory approval for its generic anti-AIDS drugs.


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