Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Health and Development

Drug company's loss could be Africa's gain.

A decision by an Indian patent office to reject an application by one of the world's major drug companies could help save lives in Africa, by enabling the manufacture of cheap versions of a key Aids drug.The decision may have just been made in Mumbai's Abbott Laboratories- one of the largest research-based drug companies in the world. Yet the decision has recieved opposition from the company and they are now considering what to do. Nevertheless, HIV/AIDS campaigners are celebrating. The Mumbai patent office has rejected Abbott's application for a patent in India on its drug Kaletra - a combination of the two antiretroviral medicines lopinavir and ritonavir.Yet problems will loom as HIV becomes resistant to the cheap first-line drugs being rolled out, the cost of treating Africans will soar unless generic versions of the newer medicines that we use in Europe and the USA can be sourced. View this story

Story by: Sarah Bosely
Photo:  Krista Kennell/Krista Kennell/ZUMA/Corbis

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