Economist Examines Aspen Pharmacare’s Challenge in Expanding Generic Antiretroviral Business Beyond South Africa
The Economist this week examined the challenge that South African generic drug company Aspen Pharmacare has in trying to "reliplicat[e]" its "dominat[ion]" of the local generic antiretroviral market abroad. Aspen -- founded in 1997 -- has grown and is now South Africa's largest drug company. It offers six antiretrovirals and in March won the bulk of a South African government contract for the drugs. The company is planning to "spread its wings" beyond South Africa through contracts with the President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief and the Clinton Foundation. It also plans to supply generic ARVs in the U.S. when patents expire, the Economist reports (Economist, 10/6). Aspen will supply Botswana with a generic version GlaxoSmithKline's antiretroviral Combivir, Botswana's Health Minister Sheila Tlou recently said. GSK had said it could not handle the high demand for Combivir in the country and recommended Aspen for the contract (Piet, Mmegi, 10/6). While the market for HIV/AIDS treatment in Africa is "large, the uptake is very slow," and Aspen must compete with companies from India and Ireland that are "expanding aggressively into the generics business," according to the Economist (Economist, 10/8).
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