Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations
BBC News Examines Increasing Efforts in Local Production of Antiretrovirals, Antimalarials in Africa
BBC News on Thursday examined increasing efforts in Africa "to manufacture its own life-saving medicines," including antiretroviral and antimalarial drugs, "so that it does not have to rely on supplies from Western pharmaceutical companies." Some U.S. and European pharmaceutical companies recently have cut prices for antiretrovirals in Africa, but some newer antiretrovirals, especially those used as second-line treatment for people with drug-resistant strains, "do not fall under these cut-price schemes," BBC News reports. African countries traditionally have relied on Indian generic drug companies to supply medications when brand-name drug prices are too high, but a change to Indian patent law last year is expected to reduce supplies of second-line drugs, according to BBC News. The manufacturing of antiretrovirals in Africa -- which until recently was limited to foreign companies with sites on the continent and a small number of African firms such as South Africa's Aspen Pharmacare -- is beginning to increase, according to BBC News. Uganda-based Quality Chemicals through a partnership with the Indian generic drug company Cipla plans to begin producing antiretrovirals in Kampala, Uganda, beginning in June 2007; a Chinese and Ghanaian group last year launched Dan Adams Pharmaceuticals, which plans to produce antiretrovirals and antimalarials for local and worldwide sale; and two Ethiopian companies might have plans for local drug production, BBC News reports. The World Health Organization estimates that at the end of 2005, 17% of the 4.7 million HIV-positive people in sub-Saharan Africa who needed antiretrovirals were receiving them. According to Medecins Sans Frontieres, the lack of access to generics is the main reason for poor drug access. The lack of transportation, health care funding and medical personnel also contributes to poor access to medicines in developing countries, pharmaceutical industry experts say (Anderson, BBC News, 6/8).
This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.