GlaxoSmithKline Submits Application to Produce Antiretroviral Drugs Locally in China
British pharmaceutical company GlaxoSmithKline announced on Sunday that it has submitted an application to China's State Drug Administration to produce the combination antiretroviral drug Combivir locally in Tianjin, China, China's Business Daily Update reports. The move represents the first time a foreign pharmaceutical company has expressed interest in producing AIDS drugs in China, according to Sun Jiangping, deputy director of the National Centre for AIDS/STD Control and Prevention. According to William Stockley, GlaxoSmithKline general manager, the drugs produced in the Tianjin plant would be available at the lowest possible price and would "surely" cost less than the Combivir that is currently shipped to China from plants in other countries. If the State Drug Administration approves GlaxoSmithKline's application, the Tianjin plant could begin producing Combivir by the end of 2004. GlaxoSmithKline also announced plans to make Trizivir -- a combination drug that includes zidovudine, lamivudine and abacavir -- available to Chinese HIV-positive patients (Business Daily Update, 11/25). According to a recent United Nations report, China currently has approximately 1.5 million HIV-positive individuals and 10 million Chinese could be HIV-positive by 2010 (Agence France-Presse, 11/23)This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.