UK govt, Clinton Foundation to help India produce cheap AIDS drugs

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New Delhi, Nov 18 (UNI) The UK government and Clinton Foundation would provide technical support to Indian companies in producing and registering new treatments for AIDS and malaria, and negotiate affordable prices for these drugs thereby helping over 11 million people with AIDS gain access to life saving treatment by 2012.

UK Secretary of State for International Development Douglas Alexander said last evening that his country is working with the Clinton Foundation to help Indian pharmaceutical companies produce cheaper drugs for malaria and AIDS in India and Africa. The proposed programme would cost upto 9 million pound between 2009 - 2012, a release by the British High Commission said here today.

Three million people died of HIV/AIDS in 2007, and every year, there are over one million deaths due to malaria. ''Government and private sector companies need to work together to expand access to more effective and low cost medicines to reduce this unacceptable burden,'' he said.

According to Mr Alexander, Indian pharmaceutical companies have made a massive contribution to improve the health of the poor, by providing affordable drugs in India and to other developing countries.

''We want to see their contribution grow, by reducing the barriers they are facing in entering markets for newer and more effective medicines for AIDS and malaria,'' he said.

The project by the Clinton Foundation will provide technical and registration support to Indian generics' manufacturers to build robust drug portfolios and become competitive in second-line ARV products, as well as 'next generation ARVs (i.e. one- pill-a-day treatments which are more effective than today's drugs but cost three times more.) Indian generics drugs companies already provide the majority of antiretroviral drugs (ARVs) used as first line combination therapy for AIDS, and have some 85 per cent of the market. As Indian firms have entered the market for these drugs over the last eight years, prices have fallen dramatically without sacrificing quality, innovative products have been introduced, and number of people receiving treatment in India and other developing countries has increased significantly.

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