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GlaxoSmithKline Issues Voluntary License for Lamivudine, Zidovudine to South African Generic Drug Company
GlaxoSmithKline on Tuesday announced it has issued a voluntary license to South Africa's Thembalami Pharmaceuticals to produce generic versions of two of GSK's antiretroviral drugs, Reuters reports (Reuters, 6/29). Under the agreement, Thembalami -- which is a joint venture between Adcock Ingram and India's Ranbaxy Laboratories -- will be allowed to produce generic versions of lamivudine and zidovudine, as well as a pill that combines the two drugs, South Africa's Business Day reports (Kahn, Business Day, 6/30). Shire Pharmaceuticals, which has a master license agreement with GSK, has agreed to waive or reduce its rights to royalty payments from GSK for drugs containing lamivudine in order to increase the sale of generic drugs in sub-Saharan Africa, according to Reuters (Reuters, 6/29). Merck in April announced a similar plan to issue a nonexclusive license to Thembalami Pharmaceuticals for its antiretroviral drug Stocrin, which is known generically as efavirenz. Under the terms of Merck's offer, Thembalami agreed to provide the drug in the Southern African Development Community, which includes some of the areas most affected by the HIV/AIDS epidemic (Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report, 4/9). In addition, Boehringer Ingelheim in April licensed Thembalami to produce a generic version of nevirapine (Business Day, 6/30). GSK also has granted a voluntary license to the South African generic drug firm Aspen Pharmacare to make generic antiretrovirals (Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report, 4/9). Both GSK and Boehringer said they are in negotiations with generic companies to offer additional voluntary licenses. However, both companies declined to offer details, Business Day reports (Business Day, 6/30).
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