Three Out of 27 Asian Antiretroviral Drug Manufacturers Meet WHO Quality Standards, Study Says
July 8, 2004
Only three of the estimated 27 pharmaceutical companies in Asia producing generic antiretroviral drugs meet World Health Organization quality standards, leading to concerns that widespread use of possibly substandard drugs could result in drug resistant strains of HIV, according to a report to be released by the Therapeutics Research, Education and AIDS Training program -- which is supported by the American Foundation for AIDS Research -- the New York Times reports (Altman, New York Times, 7/8). The report is set to be released on Sunday during the first day of the XV International AIDS Conference in Bangkok, Thailand, Agence France-Presse reports (Agence France-Presse, 7/7). Researchers from TREAT Asia conducted interviews with health officials in 15 Asian countries and interviews with government officials, drug makers and HIV/AIDS organizations in the region, Kevin Frost, a TREAT Asia public health worker and report co-author, said, according to the Times (New York Times, 7/8). The researchers found that there are 27 companies in Asia that manufacture generic antiretrovirals, compared with four companies in Latin America and one generic drug maker in Africa. Only three companies -- Cipla, Ranbaxy Laboratories and Hetero Drugs/Genix Pharma, all of which are Indian -- are certified by WHO, according to the report. The other Asian companies have not been reviewed or failed to meet WHO standards, the report says. The findings demonstrate a significant risk that sub-standard antiretroviral treatment could be sold to the region's general population, Agence France-Presse reports (Agence France-Presse, 7/7). Frost said, "[M]any questions linger about the relative safety and consistency of these drugs." The report calls for the creation of a regional database of generic drug manufacturers to help determine the drugs that are available in each country, according to the Times (New York Times, 7/8).
This article was provided by Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation. It is a part of the publication Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report. Visit the Kaiser Family Foundation's website to find out more about their activities, publications and services.