Tuesday, September 23, 2008

First batch of AIDS meds leaves for Africa

From the Winnipeg Sun:
The first batch of Canadian-made AIDS drugs will leave for Africa this week, four years after the federal government established a program to get cheaper medications into the hands of patients in poor countries.

The shipment from generic drug giant Apotex Inc., will likely start its journey to Rwanda on Wednesday.

Apotex says it plans to send another batch of medication to Africa next year, but says the company won’t participate in the program any more until the government fixes laws that have left the initiative bogged down in red tape.

Canada’s Access to Medicines Regime was passed in 2004 with much fanfare and heralded internationally as an opportunity for Canada to be a major player in the global fight against disease in poor countries.

The government promised access to first-world therapies at reduced prices by getting brand-name pharmaceutical firms to negotiate with generic drug makers and allow the generics to manufacture cheaper AIDS drugs. ...more

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