South Africa To Launch Initiative To Manufacture Generic Drugs For HIV/AIDS, Tuberculosis, Malaria
The South African Department of Trade and Industry has announced that it will launch the "Initiative Pharmaceutical Technology Transfer" to provide generic drugs for South Africa and several other African countries to treat HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria, U.N. IRIN/AllAfrica.com reports. The program will begin in May in South Africa, with the first generic medications being distributed next year, Andre Kudlinsky, a DTI chemical engineer, said. According to the DTI, "The IPTT will establish a publicly controlled, transparent, sustainable system under which affordable, quality medicines are produced in required quantities for Africa, by African countries themselves." Details of the IPTT have not yet been released, and it is not clear what benefit the program will have for South Africans living with HIV/AIDS, as the government has never provided antiretroviral drugs to the public sector, according to U.N. IRIN/AllAfrica.com. Without increased coordination between the DTI and the health department, the program will not have any impact, according to AIDS advocates. An earlier initiative by South African pharmaceutical company Aspen Pharmacare to provide generic antiretrovirals has not been productive because the South African government has not agreed to the offer, according to Nathan Geffen, a spokesperson for the Treatment Action Campaign. Aspen Pharmacare CEO Linda Pretorius said that local manufacturers should continue to produce generic antiretrovirals. "Let's not wait. We have to get them developed so that we're in a position to supply them when the government rolls out their program," she said (U.N. IRIN/AllAfrica.com, 4/7).This is part of the Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.