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International News

Kenyan Company Signs Agreement With German Company to Make Drug to Combat AIDS, HIV Transmission From Mother to Child

October 5, 2004

A Kenyan company has reached an agreement with Boehringer Ingelheim to make generic versions of the AIDS drug nevirapine, it was announced Friday. Cosmos Ltd. signed the voluntary license agreement with the German pharmaceutical company to produce nevirapine for sale in Kenya, Burundi, Rwanda, Tanzania and Uganda, said Prakesh Patel, Cosmos' managing director. "We will start producing nevirapine within two to three weeks," Patel added.

Boehringer Ingelheim spokesperson Judith von Gordon said Cosmos will be expected to produce nevirapine to be used in combination therapy treatments and to prevent mother-to-child HIV transmission. Two South African companies, as well as an Egyptian maker, already produce generic versions of nevirapine under license from Boehringer Ingelheim. Von Gordon said the company negotiated the deal so that the drug could be produced more cheaply and be more affordable in the local market. "They produce, for example in South Africa or Egypt, the drug at a cheaper price than we can here in Germany," she said. "This is a really big step forward to giving patients access to cheaper drugs."

Patel said it is not clear how much the Cosmos version of nevirapine will cost but it would certainly be competitive compared to the drug's global pricing. Von Gordon added that Cosmos will pay a royalty of less than 10 percent to manufacture nevirapine to cover additional costs incurred by Boehringer Ingelheim. "There is no profit involved," she noted.

In May 2002, Boehringer Ingelheim donated 1 million doses of nevirapine -- worth about $436,000 -- to Kenya for use in public hospitals over the next five years. That donation still stands, said von Gordon.

Back to other news for October 5, 2004

Adapted from:
Associated Press
10.01.04; Tom Maliti

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This article was provided by CDC National Prevention Information Network. It is a part of the publication CDC HIV/Hepatitis/STD/TB Prevention News Update.
See Also
HIV/AIDS Treatment in Kenya