Aspen Pharmacare in Agreement With Gilead To Produce Antiretroviral Drugs for Sale in 95 Developing Countries
South Africa-based drug maker Aspen Pharmacare on Monday announced that it has entered into a nonexclusive agreement with Foster City, Calif.-based pharmaceutical company Gilead to produce the antiretroviral drugs Viread and Truvada, which will be sold in 95 developing countries, South Africa's Business Day reports (Kahn, Business Day, 4/26). Aspen will have exclusive distribution rights for the drugs in Africa under the terms of the deal, which is expected to be finalized in September (Reuters, 4/25). Gilead will provide Aspen with the ingredients and technology to make Viread and Truvada -- which is a combination of Viread and Emtriva, known generically as emtricitabine -- and Aspen will seek licensing approval in African countries where the drugs are not already registered. Aspen will sell the two drugs at Gilead's global access program price of about 80 cents per patient per day, according to Stavros Nicolau, Aspen's head of strategic trade (Business Day, 4/26). Nicolau would not comment on projected sales volume but said the African market has "strong potential" because only about 7% to 8% of HIV-positive patients have access to antiretroviral medication, Xinhuanet reports (Xinhuanet, 4/26). "Gilead has continually explored ways to broaden and expedite access to our antiretrovirals in resource-limited parts of the world where HIV is impacting the lives of so many individuals," Gilead President and CEO John Martin said. "This initiative between Aspen and Gilead further lightens the burden on ARV global capacities and enables both companies to expand access and affordability to key AIDS medication to some of the world's most resource-constrained countries, who also happen to be the ones hit hardest by the HIV/AIDS pandemic," Aspen CEO Stephen Saad said (Gilead release, 4/25).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.