Malawi Considering Domestic Manufacture of Antiretroviral Drugs To Minimize Dependence on Foreign Suppliers
Malawi is considering producing generic antiretroviral drugs domestically to ensure the country has an affordable and sustainable supply, the Financial Times reports. Malawian Health Minister Hetherwick Ntabe said that stricter patent laws recently passed in India are threatening Malawi's supply of generic antiretrovirals. Malawi in 2004 began offering antiretroviral drugs at no cost to HIV-positive individuals, with support from the Global Fund To Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria. The country received most of the drugs from India-based generic drug manufacturers Ranbaxy Laboratories and Cipla. However, Ntabe said that after Ranbaxy and Cipla removed some of their antiretroviral drugs from the World Health Organization's list of prequalified medications last year, the country had to wait up to three months to find a new supply. "People were dying because of delays," he said, adding, "Let's just encourage local manufacturers to start producing as many drugs as they can. ... Let's develop local capacity for ARVs" (Jack, Financial Times, 7/8).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.