Mbeki, Castro Sign Agreement that Could Facilitate Generic AIDS Drug Production
South African President Thabo Mbeki and Cuban President Fidel Castro yesterday signed an agreement that could "clear the way" for the two countries to cooperate in producing low-cost generic AIDS medications, Agence France-Presse reports. The two countries are interested in using science and technology to produce generic drugs to treat HIV infection, even if pharmaceutical company patents are ignored, a Cuban official said. "We are very interested in the question of affordable drugs and medicines. The matter is critical to the provision of sufficient and adequate health care to our people," Mbeki said after the meeting. However, Mbeki "refused" to disclose the details of the agreement (Agence France-Presse, 3/28). Castro has been a "vocal" supporter of South African efforts to produce generic versions of AIDS drugs. Last week, Castro said that Cuba was producing its own versions of patented U.S. pharmaceuticals, although he declined to say which AIDS drugs the country was making ( Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report, 3/27).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.