February 28, 2011
In a piece on the move by drug manufacturer Tibotec Pharmaceuticals to grant licenses to generic manufacturers in India and South Africa to create copies of its experimental HIV/AIDS drug, the New Jersey Star-Ledger examines why drug companies are particularly focused on expanding their reach in sub-Saharan Africa.
"In 2009, the number of people living with HIV in sub-Saharan Africa reached 22.5 million, or 68 percent of the total number of people living with HIV around the world, according to the latest global report from UNAIDS," according to the newspaper. "The idea behind Tibotec's agreements with Matrix Laboratories and Hetero Drugs, both of India, and South Africa-based Aspen Pharmacare is to get a head start on regulatory approvals and manufacturing in hopes of making the new drug accessible to patients sooner," the piece continues. The article elaborates on the agreement between Tibotec and the generic manufacturers, and the steps the companies will have to take to receive WHO approval to sell the medication to public health agencies.
The Star-Ledger reports that "[t]he individual companies will be responsible for getting regulatory approval and obtaining pre-qualification status from the World Health Organization for generic versions of Tibotec's drug." In turn for selling the drug, "the generic companies will pay Tibotec royalties ranging from 2 percent to 5 percent."
"We want to expand access to the drug as quickly as we can where Johnson & Johnson doesn't have reach in terms of logistics and manufacturing capability and doing it at a price that's more affordable," said Will Stephens, vice president of global access and partnerships for Johnson & Johnson subsidiary Janssen. The article also quotes Jeff Sturchio, chief executive officer of the Global Health Council (Todd, 2/27).
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