Mozambique Launches Brazil-Funded Drug Plant to Battle HIV

A pharmaceutical plant funded by Brazil opened Saturday in Mozambique, where more than 2.5 million people are living with HIV but only 300,000 are receiving antiretrovirals (ARVs). The factory initially will package drugs from Brazil but will begin producing its own pills by year's end. It was built with $23 million in aid from Brazil and $4.5 million from Brazilian mining giant Vale. "There is an excellent partnership between the Brazilian and the Mozambican people, and there is an absolute integration between the two countries in both public and private sectors," Michel Temer, Brazil's vice president, said at the opening event. Brazil's 1996 announcement that it would offer free ARVs to HIV-positive citizens sparked concerns over drug resistance and copyright violations. Since then, however, the program has won praise as a model for the developing world. The World Bank estimates the free drugs have saved more than a half-million lives.