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Low cost HIV/AIDS drugs to be available in India by Oct-end

Press Trust of India  |  Mumbai 

The AIDS Society of India today said low cost HIV/AIDS drugs will be made available in the country by the end of this month.

"Two Indian pharma will partner to manufacture medicines on HIV/AIDS produced by foreign following which the the cost would reduce by 75 to 99 per cent compared to the international market. They will be launched during the 3rd National Conference of AIDS Society of India (ASICON 2010) to be held in Hyderabad from October 29," the society's secretary I S Gilada said.

"There is no medicine which can cure this disease. But now India will have the treatment which can get patient to come out from worst to a better stage," he said.

Gilada said medicines like Darunavir -- one of the drugs manufactured by Tibotec Pharmaceuticals, a subsidiary of Johnson and Johnson, will be manufactured by Emcure in India.

"Emcure will also come up with new medicines that can be used for children suffering from HIV/AIDS during the conference," he said.

Another formulation 'Isentress' (raltegravir), an antiviral medication that prevents human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) cells from multiplying in the body, would be manufactured and marketed in India by Merck at a low price, he said.

"India has shown a ray of hope to millions of HIV positive people worldwide by virtue of its cheaper antiretroviral treatment (ART) without compromising on quality," Gilada said.

The yearly per patient ART cost of  $10,452 a decade earlier, has has been brought down to a mere $69 for the first-line combination ART, that is merely 0.7 per cent of international cost, he said.

However, he rued, in a country with over 2.5 million HIV infected people there are not even 100 doctors full-time in HIV practice in private sector and numbers are dwindling.

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First Published: Wed, October 27 2010. 10:06 IST