Merck Subsidiary Grants South African Generic Drug Company Aspen Pharmacare License To Produce Efavirenz
Merck, Sharp & Dohme South Africa, a subsidiary of the pharmaceutical company Merck, has granted a nonexclusive, royalty-free license to South Africa-based generic drug manufacturer Aspen Pharmacare to produce and supply the antiretroviral drug efavirenz, Reuters South Africa reports. Under the terms of the agreement, Merck will continue supplying the drug to Southern Africa at not-for-profit prices (Reuters South Africa, 7/19). "The granting of this license is an important element of MSD's continuing efforts to accelerate access to AIDS medicines and to help patients living with HIV in South Africa," MSD South Africa CEO Chirfi Guindo said. Aspen CEO Stephen Saad said the agreement strengthens Aspen's "continued commitment" to fighting HIV/AIDS. Humphrey Zokufa, registrar of South Africa's Medicines Control Council, said, "We applaud MSD and Aspen's announcement of their efforts to increase access to antiretroviral treatment for people living with HIV/AIDS" (Aspen release, 7/19).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.