Aspen to make Roche anti-AIDS drug

3 October, 2006 at 5:16 pm | Posted in Companies | Leave a comment

Roche Holding said on Friday it will help three African companies to produce one of its anti-HIV drugs.

Roche will provide the companies -_ Aspen Pharmacare in South Africa, and Cosmos Ltd and Universal Corp Ltd in Kenya – with the technical assistance necessary to produce saquinavir, the active ingredient in the Swiss-based pharmaceutical’s Invirase treatment.

The three companies will produce the drug in Africa and will be allowed to export it to other developing countries around the world.

“It is both encouraging and heartening that local African manufacturers are taking steps to increase their capacity to produce and provide HIV medicines locally,” said Lembit Rago, a medicine expert at the World Health Organisation.

Roche said the program allowing production of saquinavir would eventually extend to 25 companies in 14 countries. The drug is used to treat patients who have developed a resistance to initial anti-HIV therapies.

The company said it does not file for patent rights in the world’s poorest countries. The move, it added, would not affect its pricing policy allowing least developed countries to buy anti-HIV protease inhibitors at cost.

(Fin24)

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