Zimbabwe Pharmaceutical Company Begins Production of Generic Antiretroviral Drugs
A Harare, Zimbabwe-based pharmaceutical company on Tuesday said it has begun producing generic antiretroviral drugs for use by HIV-positive people in the country, AFP/Independent Online reports. Varichem Pharmaceuticals said in a statement that it believes it is the first company in Africa to manufacture antiretrovirals, according to AFP/Independent Online. The company is producing nine different drugs using raw materials imported from European and Asian countries, AFP/Independent Online reports. More than 3,000 people die of AIDS-related causes each week in Zimbabwe, which has one of the highest HIV prevalence rates in the world at 24.9%. Earlier this year, the Zimbabwean government announced a pilot project to distribute antiretroviral drugs at no cost to patients in select government hospitals. According to officials, about 70% of patients in Zimbabwe's hospitals are HIV-positive. The domestic production of antiretroviral drugs is expected to "significant[ly]" reduce the cost of the medications, according to AFP/Independent Online. Former Zambian President Kenneth Kaunda and Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe next week are expected to address Zimbabwe's first-ever national AIDS conference, AFP/Independent Online reports (AFP/Independent Online, 6/8).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.