Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations
GlaxoSmithKline Licenses Kenyan Company To Make Generics of Two Antiretroviral Drugs
GlaxoSmithKline on Wednesday agreed to a voluntary license with the Kenyan-based generic pharmaceutical manufacturer Cosmos to produce generic forms of the antiretroviral drugs zidovudine and lamivudine, the AP/Puerto Rico WOW! reports. Cosmos plans to begin producing the two drugs, as well as a combination of the two, in a "few weeks" and sell them in Kenya at prices that are 40% to 50% lower than current prices, Prakesh Patel, Cosmos' managing director, said, according to the AP/Puerto Rico WOW!. Cosmos will be able to sell the drugs in Kenya, Burundi, Rwanda, Tanzania and Uganda, according to Dr. William Mwatu, GSK's East Africa medical and regulatory director. Kenyan Industry Minister Mukhisa Kituyi said that the government mediated negotiations between the companies because it did not want to issue a compulsory license (Maliti, AP/Puerto Rico WOW!, 9/22). "I am therefore very grateful to the two parties, GSK and Cosmos Limited, who negotiated and agreed on acceptable terms for a voluntary license," Kituyi said in a statement, adding, "It is my hope that many other pharmaceutical companies will follow this noble example" (Reuters, 9/22). A regimen of antiretroviral drugs currently costs an average of $38 per month in Kenya, according to the AP/Puerto Rico WOW!. GSK Commercial Director John Musunga did not comment on GSK's sales figures for zidovudine and lamivudine in Kenya, but he said that 3,000 to 4,000 Kenyans receive the company's drugs monthly. An estimated 2.2 million people in Kenya are HIV-positive, according to the AP/Puerto Rico WOW! (AP/Puerto Rico WOW!, 9/22).
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