GSK Grants Fourth Voluntary License to South African Generic Drug Company
U.K.-based pharmaceutical company GlaxoSmithKline on Monday announced that it has granted a fourth voluntary license to a South African drug company to manufacture and sell generic versions of some of its antiretroviral drugs, Reuters reports (Reuters, 12/6). Under the agreement, Biotech Laboratories -- a subsidiary of Afrika Biopharma -- will be able to supply generic antiretrovirals to both the public and private sectors throughout sub-Saharan Africa. "As a black-economic empowerment company in South Africa, we can now also play a meaningful role in the fight against the so-called social diseases of Africa," Shad Mapetla, head of Afrika Biopharma and CEO of Biotech, said, adding, "The granting of this license by GlaxoSmithKline will help us do that." In addition, U.K.-based Shire Pharmaceuticals, which has a master license agreement with GSK, has agreed to waive or reduce its right to royalty payments from GSK for products containing the antiretroviral lamivudine in order to facilitate the distribution of reduced-price drugs in sub-Saharan Africa (Business Day, 12/7). Earlier this year, GSK issued a voluntary license to South Africa's Thembalami Pharmaceuticals to produce generic versions of lamivudine and zidovudine, as well as a pill that combines the two drugs. GSK also granted a voluntary license to the South African generic drug firm Aspen Pharmacare to make generic antiretrovirals (Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report, 7/1). Both Feza Pharmaceuticals, also in South Africa, and Cosmos Limited in Kenya have received voluntary licenses from GSK (Business Day, 12/7).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.