Generic Drug Company Aspen Pharmacare Increasing Antiretroviral Production To Fulfill South African, PEPFAR Orders
South African generic drug company Aspen Pharmacare CEO Stephen Saad on Monday said antiretroviral drugs "are becoming a bigger and bigger part" of the company's production, South Africa's Business Day reports. He added that the company eventually could supply drugs to millions of HIV-positive people. Aspen -- which produces nine HIV/AIDS-related medications -- has been contracted to provide antiretrovirals through the South African government's national HIV/AIDS treatment program (Kahn, Business Day, 8/23). The government awarded most of the three-year contracts to Aspen and Cipla-Medpro to provide generic antiretrovirals as part of its HIV/AIDS treatment plan, which aims to provide antiretroviral drugs to 1.2 million people -- or about 25% of the country's HIV-positive population -- at low or no cost by 2008 (Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report, 5/7). Saad said about half of Aspen's local HIV/AIDS drug sales were to the private sector, but government-funded volumes are expected to rise as more public hospitals and clinics begin treating patients. Aspen also has gained FDA approval for some of its antiretrovirals to be used under the President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief. Saad said regulatory problems have delayed PEPFAR orders but added that Nigeria and Uganda have placed orders for Aspen drugs under the program (Business Day, 8/23).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.