South African Generic Drug Maker Hopes To Offer Generic Antiretroviral Combination Therapy by End of Year
South Africa-based Aspen Pharmacare, southern Africa's largest generic drug manufacturer, yesterday said that the company hopes to offer a generic antiretroviral combination drug by the end of the year, according to Aspen CEO Stephen Saad, Reuters reports (Nkuta, Reuters, 8/20). Aspen earlier this month launched the continent's first generic antiretroviral drug. The drug, called Aspen-Stavudine, is manufactured under voluntary license from Bristol-Myers Squibb, which markets stavudine as Zerit. Aspen has submitted registration applications to the country's Medicines Control Council for its generic versions of Combivir, zidovudine, lamivudine, didanosine and nevirapine (Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report, 8/7). Saad said, "I hope we have got it by the end of the year. It's all in the hands of the Medicines Control Council." Aspen expects the South African government, UNAIDS and the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria to be the biggest customers for the three-drug combination, which Aspen plans to sell for less than $1 per day per person -- a price that is competitive with Asian suppliers of generic antiretrovirals (Reuters, 8/20). The South African government on Aug. 8 called for the Ministry of Health to develop a national program to provide antiretroviral medications to residents with HIV/AIDS. The announcement came after a special meeting of the cabinet to consider a Joint Health and Treasury Task Team cost report on providing HIV/AIDS drugs to the public. According to the cabinet, "Policy and funding commitments made in the last two years leave South Africa well placed to offer a comprehensive package of prevention and care in the health sector" (Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report, 8/19).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.